Following development of a newsworthy story idea and selection of a qualified lawyer-expert, the third step in a successful media policy is to actually pitch the story idea.

Identify the best media outlets for a newsworthy story idea.  These could be mainstream print, television or radio; “niche” trade or business publications; or any number of online content sites.

Once an outlet has been identified, determine the most appropriate reporter within that outlet.  Some publications still assign certain editors and reporters to specific beats, but many more currently use generalists.  Find out who has written in a related subject area before.  Reference the firm’s familiarity with the reporter’s work.  Customize the pitch.  Never pitch an idea as an “exclusive” unless it is actually an exclusive.  Use exclusives to reward reporters who have treated the firm well.

Many reporters prefer to receive pitches by email.  Others prefer a phone call.  A pitch for a newsworthy story differs from a press release.  It is a “hook,” not the whole story.  A pitch is brief, factual and demonstrates why the idea is newsworthy.  It avoids hyperbole, which alienates reporters.  It offers a credible expert, a photo opportunity, a promise to follow up and accurate “live” contact information.

A law firm should never assume that the fact that it buys paid advertising in a publication means that the publication’s editors and reporters will accept its pitch for an article idea.  Most publications draw a clear line between advertising content and editorial content.  A legitimate media outlet will be highly offended if the firm hints at a “pay to play” arrangement where none exists.

This is part four of a five-part article.  For the full article:

 

PR Skills Boost Law Firms