The Power of Pith

Media relations is a funny business. So often we talk about how we need to find serious, substantial stories to pitch to reporters, and it’s true. In general, you’re much more likely to generate interest with something newsworthy than with fluff.

Sometimes, though, fluff works.

Why?

Timing – There are certain times of the year – Christmas, Valentines, Mother’s Day, Back-to-School etc, when outlets are scrambling for content. Christmas is perhaps the biggest of these times – reporters are away for the holidays and readers have an appetite for lighter stories.

Relevance – If you target your pitches to the right audience at the right time, you could be in luck.

Fun! – It’s worth trying the occasional fun story. Sometimes it’s just the thing journalists are looking for to fill a few column inches or give a different angle on things.

This past Christmas our team pitched a light-hearted story for one of our clients. We targeted the story to the time of year, picked the journalists carefully, brought a different angle to the topic, and pitched it in a light-hearted way.

The results? Coast-to-coast coverage, largely pulled directly from the pitch; 20 million impressions, an MRRP score of over 90 and a cost per contact of $0.0002.

I should state, though, that I would strongly recommend against using this approach frequently. Substantial, news-worthy stories need to make up the vast majority of your media pitching or you’ll be at risk of burning all your bridges with journalists.

Still… sometimes, just sometimes, pithy can be powerful.

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  • Hey Dave, I’m curious on how many journalists you picked? 10? More?

    John.

  • Indeed, sometimes a more lighthearted approach is required in order to gain coverage for one’s clients. Still, this approach must be considered and undertaken only occasionally, as you’ve said. We’ve had particular success in promoting charitable stories or ‘feel good’ items that don’t necessarily have a strong “today” news hook around the holidays. A company can ramp up awareness for its corporate social responsibility initiatives when it achieves coverage for a fundraiser or charitable event around this time of year; while most of the year coverage is sought in the hopes of increasing a company’s bottom line, coverage of this sort can inspire other companies to give to worthy causes, individuals and companies alike to donate their goods and time, and create goodwill in the community, not to mention promote a workplace as a socially responsible and fun place to work.

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