3 Tips to Ensure Your Pandemic Media Pitch Doesn’t Strike Out

Kara Gormley Meador • July 10, 2020

One of the most striking differences during these times is comparing how broadcast news looked before the pandemic, versus what it looks like today.

Television anchors are disseminating information from their living rooms, the majority of interviews are being conducted virtually, and the few live interviews you see are being recorded with boom mics, as a reporter interviews someone from a noticeable distance adhering to proper social distancing guidelines.

So how do you get coverage during this time? How do you get noticed?

Whether you are trying to gain press coverage on television, in the newspaper, on a blog, or through a podcast, here are three tips to consider before throwing your pitch.

Know The Show

Keeping up with current events is essential any day of the week, but the pandemic has made staying informed on global, national and local levels a necessity.

Pay attention to what the media is covering and tailor your message to meet the audience, if possible. There have been entire shows switched solely to news on the coronavirus, with all other stories were put on hold.

Pitching a story outside of what is being covered tells reporters that you are not paying attention to their work, and makes you appear tone-deaf as to what is going on.

Some media has been chastised for promoting live events during a time when much of their audience is making a sacrifice to stay home.

It’s important that you do maintain credibility by avoiding a callous and uncaring pitch.

On the flip side, this is a time to be creative and look for ways to support local businesses and show the community that you care. This is a trend that can benefit you today- and well into the future.

Be Empathetic

The pandemic is affecting everyone. Everyone. Just today, a colleague mentioned that her grandmother who is living in an assisted living facility tested positive for the coronavirus.

Many journalists are struggling to maintain the work-family balance and some, like us, are dealing with the realization that people they know and love have tested positive for the virus.

If reporters, producers, or assignment editors don’t get back to you right away, give them grace.  Be flexible. The news cycle is changing with the wind during this turbulent time.

As a result, be ready to change your pitching strategy. If you are following up on a press release with an email or a phone call, take a minute to ask the reporter how they are doing and continue to be pleasantly persistent.

Make It Easy On Reporters

Seek out great interviews and B-roll possibilities before you make a pitch. Plot out an interesting story and have it lined up and ready to go in advance, so the reporter has all of the elements he or she needs and can execute the story quickly.

The one great thing that the pandemic has taught us is that interviews are not bound by locale. This gives communicators a chance to think outside the box when pitching a story.  It also allows more flexibility when it comes to time and availability, so you can make sure the media captures an interview that will really shine.

Make sure reporters and interviewees know that safety issues are covered and that COVID-19 guidelines are being followed. Will the story be done in person with a reporter who is asking questions 6 feet away using a wireless or boom mic? Or is it best to try and line-up an online interview? Give the reporter options.

And for goodness sake, make sure everyone is wearing masks and following safety guidelines before a reporter or a camera shows up.

Need help getting press coverage?

The NPS team has five former journalists on staff that know the inside of a newsroom. NPS stands ready to make your pitch.

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