When you’re trying to persuade a reporter to do a
story about you or your business, you’re much more likely to
succeed if you know how to ‘talk the talk’

 
No reporter will expect you to act like an insider, but
you’ll get a lot more respect -and attention – if you can
speak the language of the newsroom.

 
It's not like learning Mandarin. In fact, all you need to
do is sprinkle your pitch with a couple of catchwords
and phrases. For instance:

 
News hook – Connecting a story to something that's already
in the news makes it more interesting. For instance: a hot
topic right now is airline security. A story about a
company that's developing a retinal scan or a handprint
identification device would automatically appeal to news
decision-makers.

 
Local Angle – Events happening on a national or even
international stage still can have local impact. Most
obvious example: when the U.S began bombing
Afghanistan, many local reserve units were called up. That
offered a variety of possibilities, including:

 
Human Interest Stories – We all saw video of the
destruction at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and
Somerset, Pennsylvania. Stories that followed about the
impact on families who lost loved ones in the attacks were
human interest stories.

 
Such stories appeal to everyone because – among other
reasons – we all ask ourselves, ‘What if it were me?’

 
Follow-ups – If you're disappointed because a reporter
talked to your competitor about something, but not to you,
you can probably get your turn by offering a follow up.
Future File – Generic name for any system that collects
news releases, notes, or any information related to future
events.

 
Evergreen – A story that isn't necessarily tied to a
news hook. Evergreens are stories the media pull ‘out of the
can’ to use on slow news days when there's not much going on
and they have a lot of time to fill.

 
Kicker – This one relates TV only. The ‘kicker’ is a short,
generally amusing story just before the end of a newscast.
It's supposed to leave you smiling even if you've just
watched nearly thirty minutes of mayhem.

 
If you want to portray yourself as knowledgeable and savvy,
just tell an assignment editor you've got something you
think will make a good kicker. They'll pay attention, since
good local kickers aren't always easy to find. Plus, if
you've got interesting video, they'll ‘tease’ the kicker all
the way through the newscast – which means you get even
more exposure.

 
Sprinkling your pitch to the media with these words and
phrases will greatly improve your chances of getting free
publicity.

 
And that reminds me of one last thing.

 
Never use the word ‘publicity’ when pitching a reporter.
Always call it ‘coverage.’

 
When you ‘talk the talk’ of the newsroom, ‘publicity’ is one
word you never want to say.

 
Get a free report detailing how to use dozens of news ‘hot
buttons’ by subscribing to George McKenzie’s free ezine,
‘Get Free Publicity.’ Go to Publicity Goldmine.

 
George has more than 30 years experience as an award-winning
radio and TV journalist. His work has been featured on ABC,
NBC, CBS, ESPN and CNN.