Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » How to Get Your Story Picked Up ...
How to Get Your Story Picked Up by the Media

How to Get Your Story Picked Up by the Media

Every journalist has secretly wished he could educate marketers and PR professionals on how to effectively send their messages. People bug the media too much, says Rhoda Weiss, chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America.

“It’s not about taking people out for drinks and steak dinners,” says Weiss. “Those days are over.” Instead, her advice is to provide reporters with information that is fast, factual and forthcoming.

Some of today’s PR professionals and marketers fail to successfully build relationships with media contacts, because they don’t know how to connect with them. The truth is that the two groups actually can benefit from one another. Journalists will tell you they respect their counterparts in other industries who are trying to inform them about the latest products and trends, but they want them to do a better job of telling their story.

Here are some important rules -- many from journalists -- that apply to anyone trying to sell an idea to a reporter or editor:

Acquaint Yourself with Editors and Publications

Probably the biggest mistake is sending out mass emails without tailoring pitches to your intended audience. Chandra Czape Turner, executive editor of CosmoGIRL!, says that she has received press materials for maternity clothes and alcohol, even though CosmoGIRL! is geared toward teens.

A marketer or public relations professional is responsible for knowing a publication’s personality, audience and regular columns. Then, he must tailor his pitches accordingly.

It’s not enough to just know the magazine well, says Turner. You also need to know the right editor for the story. She’s an executive editor and often receives releases about fashion and beauty products, which she deletes without opening because other editors are meant to handle them. Making a quick phone call to find out beat assignments at a publication saves everyone a lot of time.

Get Inside Their Heads

“You need to think, act and write like a reporter,” says Weiss. Identify yourself as a PR or marketing representative up-front in a pitch, but then write or speak as though you are a good freelance writer looking for an assignment, says Turner.

To do this correctly, in addition to tailoring your pitch to the magazine and editor’s needs, you also should include relevant stats or data, possible sources, examples of accompanying art and the story’s suggested fit in the publication. Obvious advice that bears repeating includes keeping pitches short and to the point and using clever, but informative, subject lines to garner the reporter’s interest.

If you’re pitching your idea on the phone or in person, you also should practice what you’re going to say ahead of time, suggests Weiss. Brevity is key. Just like a journalist, you should quickly inform your audience of the story. Ask yourself, “Why is this important to the readers of this publication and therefore this editor or reporter?”

Save Familiarity for Family

Some public relations professionals begin their conversations too familiarly with reporters. Reporters sometimes play along with a PR professional’s small talk, but reporters can quickly become annoyed. Your best bet, says Sunny Sea Gold, Glamour’s articles editor in charge of health, is to identify yourself and your company as soon as the reporter responds, even if you’ve worked together in the past. Common courtesy always prevails.

Mind Your Own Business

Do not ask what stories the journalist is working on now. Journalists are almost always juggling lots of stories and much of that is privileged information they should not be sharing. If you want an editorial calendar, which outlines the dates of publication of annual special reports, you can call the advertising department of any magazine, newspaper or Web site.

Don’t Be Discouraged

Refrain from complaining if your client gets interviewed but isn’t included in the story. Journalists interview lots of people and not everyone's quote makes the cut. Being available, however, means that the journalist might call the next time he's working on a relevant story. Lending a hand never hurts. “[PR professionals and marketers] can be your best friends,” says Gold. “There are those who I work with on a regular basis who have saved me at the last minute by giving me a quick fact or expert.”

Ask for Face Time

Offer to organize a desk-side meet and greet between your client and a journalist with whom he already has a working relationship. Sometimes, this helps put the expert or his product on the journalist’s radar screen. The only caveat is to avoid being pushy if the journalist declines.

If a journalist calls you with no prompting whatsoever, then you know you have a solid relationship, says Gold. Keep in mind that journalists need you as much as you need them. “If your topic or angle is interesting, there’s no way I’m going to let you pass me by,” says Gold. “I’m always hungry for ideas. If it’s good and it fits, I’m going to bite.” All you have to do is serve up the right bait.

Learn more about media careers.

Latest Jobs

Lowry Personnel Services
Posted: 05/24/2015
Dayton, OH
Allstate Insurance Company
Posted: 05/24/2015
Fort Worth, TX, 76104
Allstate Insurance Company
Posted: 05/24/2015
San Antonio, TX, 78205
Silgan Containers Corporation
Posted: 05/24/2015
Trenton, TN, 38382
Lowry Personnel Services
Posted: 05/24/2015
Dayton, OH

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-217