Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
Lessons from Gorkana's Media Briefing with the Associated Press
Pictured from left to right: Tech Editor John Simons, Retail/Health Editor Kortney Stringer, NY Bureau Chief Howard Goldberg, and Deputy Business Editor Kevin Shinkle.
You’ve drafted your plan, written your press release, researched your target outlets—but what does it really take to craft the “perfect pitch”? Top editors at the Associated Press recently presented at a Gorkana Media Briefing and shared three tips for getting your story told.
Context – Explain why it matters and why now. If your story is part of a bigger, current trend or movement, it will be more likely to pique the media’s interest. The AP will often publish different versions of the same story throughout the day, tailored for different audiences around the world. “We want to inform people,” said Kevin Shinkle, Deputy Business Editor. “We want to write about what people really care about.” Thus, stories tied to a larger trend will get more attention—from the public and from the journalists you pitch.
Access – Give the media someone who can offer a new perspective. At the heart of every story, there is a source—or sources—who provides insight and commentary. If you offer a new angle or a new expert, media are likely to take note—but keep it brief by sharing just a name, area of expertise, and a number. John Simons, Technology Editor, added, “It is especially helpful if we can reach the expert after 5 p.m.” Using Twitter? The AP might find a source there, but Howard Goldberg, NY Bureau Chief, firmly stated, “We don’t quote from Twitter.” There’s no substitute for human interaction.
Relationships – You’ve heard it before, but it really is all in who you know. Successful pitching often comes down to having a good rapport with a journalist over time. “It’s about relationship-building,” said Kortney Stringer, Retail and Health Editor. “If a PR professional follows through on exclusive stories and interviews, this builds trust.” In short, the best way to get a journalist to respond is by helping them.