Account Manager, Silver Buck
Building a relationship with the press is an essential step towards raising brand awareness. However, it can be difficult to know where to start, what approach to take and importantly, how to convert your pitches into press coverage!
There are dozens of news organisations that cover digital health, ranging from specialist publications to the big nationals. Journalists are inundated with press releases from companies seeking coverage about the launch of a new device, securing a new NHS customer and hitting major milestones.
So how can you stand out from the rest?
We’ve curated our top tips on how to build relationships with journalists, pitch news, and secure coverage in your target publications.
Tailor the news to the publication
Journalists receive dozens of pitches every day, so it’s essential to make sure your pitch is tailored to the news organisation you are pitching to in order to keep it as relevant as possible.
Research the publication you’d like to get coverage in and establish who their readership is and the type of articles they would usually publish. You can also find out if the publication has specific beat reporters relevant to your pitch, so you can contact them directly.
Once this has been established, you can amend the pitch to make it as relevant to the publication as possible – reference articles published in the past that are similar to your pitch and identify a strong news angle that the journalist could lead with.
You can also reference recent national news that might make the press release more relevant.
Keep the pitch brief and avoid jargon
When pitching via email or social media, it’s best to keep the pitch as brief as possible, while including all the highlights. If the pitch is filled with jargon and difficult to understand, it’s unlikely to get pick up. Include a short bullet point list of the highlights so the journalist can quickly establish what it’s about and include essential information, such as figures, job titles and images.
It’s beneficial to anticipate the questions the journalist might ask by looking at previous pieces they have written. If you’re unable to answer vital questions then it reduces the likelihood of publication.
Also include details of who they can contact if they would like more information and suggest an interviewee, preferably with NHS experience, who can discuss the pitch, and any wider issues in more detail.
It’s important to eye-catching email header that succinctly highlights the news angle. If possible, try not to include the name of a supplier as it may be overlooked as a sales pitch.
If you don’t hear back from them in a day or two, it’s worth following up to check whether they are interested in the pitch.
What’s the impact on the NHS?
Journalists get plenty of emails about new NHS partnerships for various forms of technology, from patient engagement platforms to clinical communication devices and electronic patient records. While this will be interesting to certain publications, it’s important to include as much information as you can about the impact the product is having on the sector to maximise the possibility of coverage.
Where possible, include details of how the product is already having a positive impact on NHS services, whether that’s helping to tackle the elective backlog, reducing time-consuming admin tasks or streamlining care for patients.
If you can, include details of how the product might be spread across integrated care systems, particularly as the integration agenda is at the forefront of healthcare leaders’ minds.
Build a relationship with the journalist from the outset
News organisations are always looking for new reliable contacts who can confidently talk about issues impacting the healthcare sector.
Arrange background conversations with journalists and build a reputation as a reliable source so they are more likely to consider any pitches you send across.
This can also be an opportunity to get to know them and understand the topics they usually cover, so you can provide them with relevant content further along the line.
Get in touch with news organisations to find out if they have any planned news items or features in the pipeline. If the publication has a print edition, put their publication date in your diary and contact them as soon as the deadline has passed with pitches for the next edition, while there’s still plenty of pages to fill!
If you’re writing an article yourself, check pieces they have already published to match the piece to their style as best as possible. If the copy is high quality then the editor is more likely to accept future pitches. For print editions deadline day will be high-pressured, so the less work the copy requires their end the better.
Silver Buck can help your company to get the press coverage you want through our press services. Get in touch to find out more.
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