Once a reporter, always a reporter.
That’s the adage Danielle Cass subscribes to as the communications manager at Kaiser Permanente. With a writing background in newspapers and magazines, she still thinks like a reporter—even though she crossed over to the “dark side” 15 years ago, she says.
“When you pitch a reporter, think to yourself, ‘What do they need to make this a story? What can they say to their editor to make this compelling?'”
To achieve this, Cass advises hospital communicators to pay attention to details and grammar and to write pithy leads when pitching reporters. Write your pitch like a news story—make it flawless.
Before you write, do your research.
Ideally, Cass says she’d like to spend two months researching a given topic or material before pitching the media. First, she calls Kaiser medical experts and asks him or her explain the facts behind the research.
“I play ‘dumb’,” Cass says. “I want them to explain it to me to make sure I understand it fully. I read all the white papers and peer-reviewed journal articles, too.”