Lisa Quirindongo, Momentum’s senior media strategist, shared pitching strategies with the team at a Lunch & Learn session on January 19. Drawing on her previous experience as a broadcast television reporter, Lisa offered four story elements necessary to capture a reporter’s interest.
First, the reporter needs to see a dramatic point of conflict. This should be the “Hey Martha” moment, or one sentence that attracts someone to the story. What is the greatest challenge that your interviewee faces and what makes their story special? Include this in the first sentence of your pitch, then introduce yourself.
Next, reporters are looking for emotion. What makes your story come alive? Consider finding a local connection to tie to the greater issue at hand. This is necessary for perennial stories, such as holiday travel or the beginning of the new school year.
Once you’ve captured the emotion, include details that show color and spark. This could include statistics or the specific path someone took. The reporter should be able to clearly visualize a story.
Finally, find a way to advance the story. If it is an older story, take it a step further. What makes your new angle special? Find a different way to approach the same story, followed by detailed and relevant background information.
In summary, Lisa recommends incorporating emotion, energy, and excitement into your story. Once you’ve crafted the perfect pitch, it’s time to be “graciously persistent” with reporters. Follow up by phone and email, and build valuable relationships with reporters that lead to multiple stories for multiple clients over the long run.