With the changing face of the media, more and more journalists are working remotely and writing freelance. It’s likely that many journalists in your area contribute to multiple outlets, both on a regional and national level. At Think Big, we are lucky to know and work with many great local freelance writers and want to share our insight on how to best work together.
Make the connection of how your news reaches a large audience or trend story. When pitching national publications, your news has to resonate with a large audience. You might offer a trend story by researching other companies or places doing something similar, even if they are not your client. The more bulk to the story, the more likely that it will get picked up.
Offer a variety of angles – or invite them to discover their own! Journalists know best what their editors like or do not like. What you might think is newsworthy might not always be the case. Present all newsworthy information, and allow the journalist to dive deeper into the area they see fit. Angles also may change from one publication to the other – allowing for the possibility of multiple stories placed from the same pitch.
Don’t be afraid to vocalize your placement goals. Just as PR pros aim to place stories in top tier media outlets, so do freelance journalists! Sure, they might have stronger relationships with certain publications, but we’ve found that most are willing to pitch a new editor or an outlet they have never worked with before. Want to see a story picked up by a certain national outlet? Just ask! It could be a win for both of you.
Keep up with each other. Although in pre-pandemic times it was easier to suggest meeting for coffee or a fun activity to pow wow on how you might be able to work together. Now you may want to try a Zoom call or a virtual happy hour. Learning what the writer is working on or has planned in the future allows you to better pitch them. Don’t have anything that’s a fit at the moment? Maybe you can recommend them to someone who does, and vice versa. If something isn’t a fit currently, it doesn’t mean it won’t be down the road. Great stories come about when you take the time to understand what types of angles journalists are interested in and keep up with what they are working on.