Having trouble getting coverage in a media company's print edition?
Chances are its website has a collection of blogs that are maintained by reporters (or freelancers) and don't necessarily adhere to the same editorial process as the print edition. Pitching these bloggers may be a backdoor way to get coverage in a publication that otherwise wouldn't be interested.
During my tenure at the Chicago Sun-Times
, I worked with another reporter to build a sports/pop culture blog from scratch. Several times, we populated the blog with information that came from a PR person.
While pitching a newspaper blogger is similar to that of any other reporter, there are a few subtle differences that could save your pitch from being deleted.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Get to know the bloggers.
This one might be obvious, but it needs to be stressed because we received an obscene number of off-topic, worthless, and often annoying pitches. Make sure you read
the blog, and
check out the work the reporter does outside of the blog. Get a good sense of what the blogger writes about and, perhaps more important, what he or she doesn't
write about. Avoid the mindset that says, “They haven't written about it yet, but they might make an exception or go in a new direction.”
2. Your pitch should be time-conscious.
Recognize that newspaper bloggers usually have other functions outside of their blog, and that they’re probably not getting paid extra for their work on these blogs. It’s more of a passion project. I maintained mine in addition to my duties as a reporter and Web editor. The blog was a way for me to write without worrying about inches, word count, or other constraints that print presents. Don’t be too demanding of their time and, instead, help them.
3. Determine if the blog is even worth your attention.
Get an idea of the blog’s popularity based on tweets, Facebook “likes,” and the amount of comments. Also, check the newspaper’s home page to see what kind of blog posts—if any—make it on the home page. You might often find that these blogs have no presence and are frequented by only a few faithful readers. They might not even be worth your time.
4. Exclusive interviews and sneak peeks worked best.
There was never a lack of content for our blog, so we were able to pick and choose which pitches interested us. The PR pitches that usually attracted our attention involved exclusive interviews and sneak peeks. For instance, the Sun-Times
rarely had room to run video game coverage, but a PR pro from 2K Sports contacted me offering a 10-minute phone interview with Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose. It wasn’t too time-consuming on our end, and we knew it would be featured on the home page and drive traffic. It turned out to be some great press for a product that would otherwise be overlooked. Check it out here