Public Relations & Crisis Management

Provide Expertise, Not a Sales Pitch

One thing news media hates the most is a public relations sales pitch promoting the agenda of a client and not something that has a compelling benefit to viewers or readers.

As a former television news assignment editor, I understand this all too well.

When a PR person calls a busy newsroom and tries to “sell” their client’s agenda, it’s a sure-fire way to get ignored.

However, using the word “expert” instead of “client” can greatly improve the chances of a successful pitch.

What I mean by “expert” in this case is that the client will provide expert industry knowledge on a story subject, thus providing the reporter and their viewers/readers additional context and understanding to the topic.

Granted, the client isn’t pushing any specific company agenda in this type of interview, but what they are doing is positioning the client as an authority and leader in their field who can talk about matters affecting the community.

Here are a couple of ways to present a client as an expert for media:

1. Develop a One-Stop-Shop pitch

– Find a story that impacts the community and provide the client who has relevant expertise to the media. Don’t just stop at the expert; provide the character interview as well. The character, also referred to as the “real person,” is someone who is personally impacted by the story topic.

– Providing a newsworthy story idea plus an expert and a character in a “one-stop-shop” pitch greatly increases the chances of news coverage for the client.

2. Real-Time stories

– If there is a hot topic being discussed in your community, provide the media with a client “expert” who can be immediately available for interviews. These types of stories often lead the news or make the front page of the newspaper and can provide extremely valuable exposure to the client.

Providing clients as experts to media for newsworthy stories throughout the market will increase the company’s awareness not only to the media but to the community as well. Media will then begin to acknowledge the client as the go-to expert in their industry and thus maximize their positive image in the community.


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