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How to grab a reporter’s attention in 10 seconds

By Lisa Goldsberry

31156955_s.jpgTime is money, and a smart media strategy from PR will help you make the most of it

OK, you have 10 seconds to tell us all about your company, what is new and why we should care. Go.

In today’s always-connected, blink-and-you’ll-miss-something world, this 10-second window represents the new reality for selling your product. It’s also the new normal for attracting media attention. With help from public relations, you can learn to use your time wisely.

Why 10 seconds may be all you need

First, count out 10 seconds. One Mississippi… two Mississippi… Now, realize that’s all the time you have to capture the attention of a reporter or editor before she moves on to her next pitch or task.

Not enough time, you say? It is when you follow these five tips for appealing to and delivering your news to journalists.

  1. Make sure the reporter recognizes your name.

Look at the emails in your inbox right now. The ones you opened first were probably those sent by people or companies you know. This is just human nature, and journalists are people too.

Build a relationship with the reporter before you pitch. You can do this by following him on social media; being present at professional events where he will be speaking or in attendance; and offering information as a resource (even when it doesn’t involve your company). Then, when he sees your email, he will be more likely to read it.

  1. Have something interesting to say.

Think about the people you have spoken to already today. It’s a sure bet that you talked to these people because they had information you needed or you knew beforehand that they were going to tell you something funny/exciting/insightful. If you know someone who tells the same old boring story, you avoid him like the plague.

Reporters want information that their readers will find interesting and that they haven’t seen anywhere else. Your pitch should be unique, easy-to-understand and shareable.

  1. Get to the point quickly.

If you drone on and on or leave the good stuff until the end, even the most fascinating story will be ignored. Remember those 10 seconds.

You should be able to summarize your information in 1-2 sentences. Be sure to quickly demonstrate the value of your news, such as what the reporter will get out of it (increased readership/followers) and what the audience will get (helpful information they need to know). If your news is complicated or needs detailed information, try using an infographic or include a video link. It may also help to use bullet points for a faster read.

  1. Create a killer subject or opening line.

Dull, impersonal or general subject lines (such as “Hey, how are you doing?”) do nothing to get the journalist to open your email or stand still to listen. Without achieving this objective quickly, your email or encounter is doomed to fail.

Imagine someone you vaguely recognize approaches you in public. If he just says hi, you will probably respond, but keep moving. On the other hand, if he says, “Hi, I know that your company is having problems with supply chain management and my company has the solution,” you will likely stop and ask to hear more. To get attention, your pitch must immediately pique the reporter’s interest and a well-crafted, relatable subject line is the way to do it.

  1. Use your 10 seconds to pick up the phone and hire a PR firm to handle pitching for you.

Ten seconds may be all you have to get a reporter’s attention, but it will take you more than 100x that amount of time to get it right. Making your news stand out from all the rest in such a short time frame can be frustrating, exhausting and frankly, you probably don’t have the necessary time to do it effectively.

At Axia Public Relations, we understand the value of positive news coverage, and we work every day to position our clients in the best possible light for maximum media attention. Contact us now or download our  e-book Learn Media Relations from the Media for more helpful tips and advice.

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Lisa-G-Color-SM.jpgLisa Goldsberry is a blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.







Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: media relations, public relations

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