How to pitch news stories during coronavirus lockdown

If you’re trying to get press coverage for your business during covid-19 lockdown, you’ll need to pitch differently. Here’s my advice…

In some respects, doing your own PR during lockdown is much the same as any normal time: you come up with a good story idea, find the appropriate journalist/editor to pitch to, write a captivating subject line, a short email – images attached – and hit send.

But there does need to be some acknowledgement of the current situation.

Not: aren’t these terrible times we’re living through!

More: While people are on lockdown, their needs will be different. And I have something that can help.

So let’s say you run an online course about overcoming emotional eating. This is a course offered by Josie Buck, a food and eating psychology coach I’m currently working with.

Josie designed the course pre-corona but actually, while we’re all stuck at home reaching for the biscuits to make us feel better about social isolation; this course is so relevant.

To pitch a PR story around her course, Josie could suggest the following stories:

  1. The reason you can’t stop eating biscuits during lockdown
  2. Five ways to curb emotional eating during coronavirus lockdown
  3. How to work out if it’s hunger or your emotions making you hungry

These three examples could be three separate email subject lines. Josie could work out which publication would be most interested in each, and pitch accordingly. So maybe #1 would be a good one for Femail, while #2 might appeal to the Guardian.

How to do your own PR

As you can see from the above image, I’ve been doing my own PR. Though actually, this mention on the BBC News website came from the journalist contacting me.

I’ve been sharing posts on social media about being at home with the kids. But also, I’m on the BBC’s database as someone who talks about motherhood, kids and freelancing. So when they wanted to write about families homeschooling, my name came up on the system.

I shared some thoughts, and then recommended they contact Eloise Rickman (@_mightmother), who I know homeschools. I know this because she talks about it on Instagram – this is what her whole feed is about. She’s doing her own PR by showing up on Instagram and keeping her posts niche.

So keep your content focused on your subject, keep blogging and sharing social posts so that you’re popping up on people’s feed – and then, when you want to pitch to press, find an angle that suits the current situation.

Any questions? Pop them in the comments…

And if you’d like to join my DIY PR online course, there’s a load more info on pitching and growing an online profile. It’s self-paced – start now, work on it when you can. It’s very flexible. And you’ll be invited to join my closed Facebook group with over 470 wonderfully supportive freelancers and entrepreneurs.

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