Media Pitching During the Pandemic? Keep it Relevant and Altruistic
Almost everything we read today is somehow tied to the coronavirus – health, sports, travel, employment, economies – and that won’t change anytime soon. And despite the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations such a public relations firms, or companies with their own media departments, are still looking to pitch reporters.
As they should.
As long as the pitches hold some weight in the myriad of stories that are taking place every day.
Based on Cision’s State of the Media, which surveyed 3,252 journalists, reporters are looking for unique stories, especially positive ones, that are relevant, tasteful and timely to the news of the day regarding the virus.
As one reporter put it, “All of our normal coverage is now being looked at through the lens of COVID-19 and normal stories now take a different turn. The possibilities are endless right now.”
Reporters also want pitches that are not taking advantage of the pandemic for the benefit of a company or individual. Meaning, any number of organizations shouldn’t try to tie their services or products to the happenings of the coronavirus just because there is an opportunity to do so.
One reporter called it “distasteful.”
If you plan to pitch the media, reporters said there are a few other things they’d like comms folks to keep in mind:
- “Be even more proactive than ever with reaching out”;
- “Email remains key” (that’s the preferred method of contact prior to and during the pandemic);
- Brief pitches that avoid “elaborate, teaser introductory paragraphs” and get to the news;
- “Offer experts related to the news of the day” and make them available on video conferencing services;
- Timely pitches that arrive in their inboxes in the morning; and
- “Human interest pieces that make things more personal or show people coming together.”
Following these recommendations, may not guarantee your pitch will be a bit, but it will at least be helpful in getting your client or organization looked at.
For additional information and guidance for communicating during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit Xenophon’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Team webpage at: https://xenophonstrategies.com/covid-19-response.
Getting Back to Work is an ongoing series on health and safety regarding COVID-19 from Xenophon Strategies, in partnership with Dr. David Hamer, a professor at the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine with more than 30 years of experience in epidemiological diseases. Through the partnership Xenophon is working with Dr. Hamer to provide science-based recommendations and guidance on how employers, employees, and families should best respond to and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.