How to Choose the Best Media Target for Your Pitch

October 19, 2020 | Angelica Flynn

“I want our news to run in The New York Times.”

Raise your hand if your organization’s leaders have ever asked this of you.

Leaders zoned in on the pulse of an organization may view all of the company’s news – from anniversary celebrations and executive changes to new product launches – as appropriate for a big media push targeting top-tier media.

It certainly might be exciting news for your organization. And no matter your experience, industry or product, PR professionals know the right story, pitch and savvy media relations skills can help get placed in prominent media. However, as the organization’s communicator, you must identify the media targets most appropriate for sharing this news, whatever it may be.

While esteemed publications like the Times or the Washington Post are prestigious and affirming, there are many worthwhile publications to target. When PR pros set out to target top-tier media – or any specific media – the goal of the outreach effort must align with the targeted publication. Oftentimes, there are publications that may not have as broad or vast of an audience that make much more sense for your organization and your organization’s goals. In a simple example, if a community hospital’s campaign goal is to drive patients to visit their family physician, it might not make sense to target a national publication. Rather, PR pros should focus efforts on more local outlets to reach the targeted audience. Plus, small, hometown publications are often more relied upon and trusted than bigger, more flashy news sources.

“When PR pros set out to target top-tier media or any specific media the goal of the outreach effort must align with the targeted publication.” 

Splashy coverage is fun, but impactful, proactive media relations with targeted pitching is what sets apart run-of-the-mill PR form strategic PR efforts. At AKCG, we work with our clients to identify the most appropriate media target for any given pitch, release or project. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for any organization.

Depending on the client, the product and the audience, media relations pros might consider local over national audiences, print over broadcast or trade over general media. To help narrow down your media targets, ask yourself these questions when building out your media list for your next campaign:

  • Who is my primary audience? Don’t limit your thinking to the outlet you want to target. Think of the person you want to target. If you work for a marketing intelligence company, you want to reach marketing executives with the decision-making power to adopt your product. What do those professionals read on a daily basis? Understand your target audience and find the channels to which they subscribe.
  • Is this story told better in print, visually or audibly? There is no shortage of newspapers or magazines to which you can pitch a story. But what elements do you have to offer a media outlet and reporter? If there is an interesting visual element, you could dig into talk shows, cable news shows and local news segments. Radio and podcasts also open a different avenue through which to reach your audience. How might your story be best told?
  • Is my news time sensitive? Understand how often and under what timeframe stories are turned around in any given media format. If your pitch is time sensitive and you don’t have much lead time, you might want to target a daily newspaper that has resources to get your story in a fresh edition of a paper. If you can afford a longer lead, you can target highly produced broadcast segments or work with monthly publications that have themed editions that work for your pitch.

Being well-versed in all types of media by being an active listener and an avid news consumer will help PR pros know exactly what type of media outlet to target for any given project. Don’t limit yourself to a singular media target – there is so much media out there and there could be less-obvious targets that would be highly valuable to your organization.