9 Pitches with Compelling Story Angles to Land Press Coverage

Your personal story Exciting new product feature Hit important milestone Innovative product Pitch interesting data or patterns based on user behavior Pitch your product within the context of broader cultural or social topics it's related to Pitch a local publications first Share tip with journalist to build relationship Pitch a landing page or resource related to your product

Pitch your personal story: your background and how you got to where you are today

Subject: Story for your article about entrepreneur extremes (involves not showering much)

Follow journalists that cover beats related to your company on social media. When they're working on new stories, many of them ask their followers if they know anyone with relevant stories.

Focusing on the most interesting details, provide a brief overview of your personal story.

Offer to provide more unique insights to their audience related to your personal story.

Ask if they're interested in your story and offer to provide more details to tease them into replying.

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You released a new major feature

Subject: Exciting new feature at Chaat

Provide a genuine comment about a recent article they wrote.

Briefly explain one existing new feature your company is releasing soon.

Provide the journalist with an interesting angle related to this new feature so it is easier for them see your story's potential.

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You hit a major milestone

Subject: [Milestone] Songkick just hit 10 million active users

Provide a meaningful comment about the journalist's work to build rapport.

Share an exciting milestone that your company hit.

Provide a story angle such as what this milestone means for your industry at large so the journalist can see its potential.

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Tired of dry spells when it comes to getting new customers?

Subject: This template is part of Art of Sales, a proven sales system to get reliably new customers. Click here to learn more.

Mention where you came across this prospect and use the topic they commented on to open the conversation.

Provide them valuable lesser known insights related to the topic they commented on and the services you provide.

Mention a specific result you achieved for a client to intrigue them into asking for more details.

You launched an innovative product or service

Subject: [New] Our software finds uncaptured serial killers

Provide a meaningful comment about their work to build rapport.

In simple terms, explain what your product does and one of its most important or interesting use cases.

Mention additional interesting details and use cases you can provide to entice the journalist to reply.

Ask them if your product would be a good fit to open the conversation.

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Interesting patterns or trends based on user behavior

Subject: Interesting data about radical bias in online dating preferences

Provide a meaningful comment about the journalist's work.

Based on the patterns your team has gathered from aggregate anonymized user data, lead with the most interesting or surprising discovery it reveals.

List 2-3 interesting data points.

Provide the journalist some interesting angles they can explore related to these data points to show them the potential of your story.

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Pitch your product within the context of broader social or cultural topics it's related to

Subject: Elixir, the drink substitutes that food

Provide a meaningful comment about the journalist's work and one of their specific articles.

Briefly explain what your product does and its most important or interesting benefit.

List a few interesting social or cultural topics your product is related to or raises questions about so the journalist can see its story potential.

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Pitch to your local press first → climb up the press totem pole

It is much easier to get featured in a local publication first because the news of your launch can be relevant for your city. Also, journalists for national outlets often scour local news for emerging stories so they may come across yours and write about it too.
Subject: [Just launched om SF] Get any restaurant food delivered to you

Give a genuine compliment about the journalist's work.

Briefly explain what you launched by storytelling a few relatable scenarios in which your product or service would be used.

Provide an additional key detail about how it works.

Ask them for their thoughts to open the conversation.

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Successful pitch to a local newspaper leads to feature in Bloomberg Businessweek

Julian Kurland from BillFixers (they negotiate discounts on monthly bills for their customers) first pitched their story a local newspaper, the Tennessean. After that story went up, a Bloomberg journalist noticed it and asked them for an interview. This got published in Bloomberg's print edition and online site. The result? A 4000% spike in traffic.

When Julian first pitched the Tennessean, he asked a friend who works in PR to intro him to an editor so they were able to jump straight into their pitch in the email. Another important lesson? That journalist liked their story but it got pushed to the backburner due to some shakeups in their company. So Julian reached out again to remind her about BillFixers. Here's the pitch Julian used:

How Julian Kurland from BillFixers pitched a local newspaper

Share valuable resource with journalist to build a relationship

For journalists who write for top tier publications, it may be worth your time to build a relationship with them beforehand so they're more likely to consider your pitch when the time comes. Look up a few of their recent articles to see what topics they cover. Pull up their social media profiles to get a sense of their interests.

When you stumble across an interesting relevant resource, share it with the journalist.

Subject: You may find this interesting: survey on emotional reactions to market changes

Provide a meaningful response to one of the journalist's recent articles to show you're reading them.

Provide a relevant backstory to demonstrate the importance of the resource you're sharing with them. This makes it more likely they'll actually open the link and get value out of it.

Briefly summarize what the resource is about and share it with them.

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Pitch a landing page or resource related to your product

Unless your product incredibly interesting or innovative, it can be an uphill battle to get featured by press. While you can't make your product more sexy, you can create a landing page or resource that shares interesting stories, data or content related to your product and pitch that instead.

Here's an example of a landing page Blueair, a company that makes air purifiers, created to show the quality of the air you're currently breathing.

Create a landing page or resource that shares stories, data and/or content related to your product

Some landing page ideas:

  • If you're a music streaming site, you can create a landing page called Where is the Love? featuring the least played songs.
  • If you're a makeup subscription site, you can create a landing page called 'Popular makeup looks throughout history - tutorials on how to recreate them'.
Subject: Recreating the most popular makeup looks from the previous 10 decades

Mention why you find their work valuable to compliment them.

Briefly explain the interesting resource or content you created. Attach a screenshot to visually show them what it looks like to pique their interest.

Ask for their thoughts about it to open the conversation.

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How press coverage can kick off your explosive growth

Your business cards still have that hot off the press smell. Your website is what your developer calls "pixel perfect". Your business is ready to be shown to the world!

But no one is coming.

Alternate ending. You get 89% of your funding target within 24 hours of launch. How? Pitching to the media. Sphericam achieved that after getting featured in Techcrunch and Boing Boing. And you can too. How journalists prefer to receive pitches

The good news is, according to Fractl, 81% of journalists prefer email pitches. The bad news is, the average journalist gets 300 pitches a day. How do you stand out?

The launch of your website/business/blog/preorder signup page is not news. Journalists serve their readers. And want do their readers want? Interesting stories on topics they care about.

Building relationships

Feed scoops and tips to journalists

Look up an author profile to see what topics they typically over. For example Lolly Daskal regularly publishes articles about productivity on Inc.com. Lolly Daskal article topics

Go to popular sites with user submitted content and pop their topic into the search. It is much easier to find great insights on discussion forums since some users share the best ideas they know or heard about, thereby doing the thinking and researching process for you. I searched for "productivity" on Reddit and came across this gem in a popular thread: Reddit thread on productivity

Email the journalist, compliment them on their work and ask if you they have come across the valuable insight you discovered. Describe it to them by framing it as potentially useful for a future article.

Answer their questions on Twitter

Many journalists and authors ask questions on Twitter when they are in the process of writing stories. Create a list for every journalist you follow so you can monitor all their tweets in one place. When they ask a question you can offer a meaningful answer to, write back. After a few times, they will start to recognize your name. And it will be easier for you to introduce yourself when you send your first email to the journalist.

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