Studying Olympics coverage can make your pitch a gold medal winner

by Tom Unger on July 30, 2021

in Uncategorized

If you want to successfully pitch news stories, you need to think – and write – like a news reporter.

That’s one of the strategies I’ve used during my 30+ year career in public relations to place countless stories. And reading some of the news stories coming out of the current Olympic Games in Tokyo reinforces three other basic principles I teach in my News Writing workshops for PR professionals:

The Power of “ST” – If you can find a word that ends in the letters “s” and “t” and apply it to your story pitch, you have a much better chance of success. Case in point: my local newspaper The Oregonian ran a large wire story July 28 about a 17-year-old high school student from a tiny town in Alaska. Why did she merit such attention? Because Lydia Jacoby was the first swimmer from Alaska to make the U.S. Olympic swimming team. To top it off, she won the gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke event. You can read more about this strategy here.

Most Attractive Topic – The topic most people want to read about in their news coverage is … other people! The story cited above about the swimmer includes information about her childhood, how difficult it was to train in a small town during a pandemic, how her parents both work as whale watching boat captains, how she was homeschooled the past year and how her friends and family members “went nuts” at the watch party when she won. If you’ve got a people element to your story, don’t forget to include it. You can read more about this strategy here.

Think Local – Reporters usually seek local stories that have a tie to a national or international event. Case in point: my 97-year-old mom is currently visiting me from her home in Victoria, Canada. She brought a copy of her local paper, The Times Colonist, with her. The July 20 edition includes a large story about a University of Victoria graduate who was picked to help carry the Canadian flag during the opening ceremony in Tokyo. If you can somehow connect your pitch to a big news story, the result will be a placement. You can read more about this strategy here.

I’ve always believed that if you can provide an editor with a newsworthy story that would interest their readers, your pitch will win a proverbial gold medal. Using the above strategies will help you get there.

Want to improve your team’s news or business writing skills? Get in touch with me for information about scheduling and rates.

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