A guide to maximizing your news coverage opportunities

Naperville News 17 anchored by Kim Pirc
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Whether you’re involved with a local nonprofit, contribute to your school as a volunteer, or coach a youth sports team, there may come a time when you’re asked to write a press release to secure news coverage. If you find yourself in that position, here are five quick tips to help you perfect your pitch to NCTV17’s reporters!

1) Craft a Compelling Story

Focus on people, not companies/organizations. Emphasize the human experiences and make them relatable and interesting for everyone. If you’re a nonprofit, share an impact story about a client who used your services and is better for it. If you’re involved in your place of worship, share a story about a volunteer who started a program or activity that benefited members of the congregation. If you coach a sport, highlight a player who has overcome adversity or is a role model off the field of play.

2) Perfect Timing

Think about the timing of your pitch. Does your story relate to a holiday or day of recognition (National Volunteer Week, Earth Day, Veteran’s Day, etc.) Reporters are often looking for stories related to these occasions, so by making the connection, you increase your chances of news coverage.

3) Highlight Relevance

Clearly explain why your news is relevant now. Back it up with recent quotes from authorities, new studies, or surprising facts. This provides context and hooks the reporter’s interest.

4) Leverage Superlatives

Emphasize if your news is the first, last, best, biggest, or an anniversary. Adding significance to your story can make it more appealing to reporters.

5) Help Us Help You

Recognize that newsrooms are stretched thin. Provide all the necessary details, including potential interviewees, visuals, and opportunities for b-roll. Make it easy for reporters to visualize and execute your story.

Writing your press release with an understanding of what reporters are looking for improves your chances of news coverage on local TV! If you have a news tip or story idea, send it to newstips@nctv17.org or complete the online form.