How to get reporters to pitch your story for you

A single, yellow telephone

For communicators in large organizations, it’s not only a challenge handling incoming media inquiries, it’s also a challenge knowing who to pitch out your good news stories to.

What if you already had a customized list of reporters who already knew about your organization who you could pitch to?

Of course, you can pull lists of reporters from a subscription service, like Cision, or call on those “reporter friend” contacts you’ve had in your back pocket for just this moment. Or you could just Google.

They might not know or care about your organization, though.

Or, you could use your incoming media inquiry call list.

Yes, the one you update whenever a reporter calls. You do keep one, don’t you?

It’s important that all team members save the details of all incoming media calls (date, reporter contact details, outlet and subject matter) in a central Excel spreadsheet. Don’t forget to note who on your team took the call.

Over time, this list will grow. Maybe into the hundreds.

Eventually, you’ll be the one reaching out to select reporters to get coverage you actually want. 

“But they don’t cover the beat I’m pitching,” you might be thinking. “They were only calling about an issue we didn’t want covered in the first place.”

That’s not a problem. 

If you pitch a reporter on your list, and they’re not the right person to cover the story, you can always ask them to pass it on to their editor or producer. 

After all, you were friendly to them when they called you the first time, right?

If they do decide to pass the story onto their boss, in essence, they’re pitching your story for you!

Once you get the producer or editor’s contact info, you’ll have it for future reference (use a different tab in your Excel spreadsheet).

It’s this professional give-and-take between communicators and reporters that is the essence of good media relations.

So, when was the last time you updated your reporter call list?