There are umpteen articles and information on how to approach the media and bloggers and what to include in that pitch. But what often remains unaddressed is the fact that media needs to be charmed, schmoozed, and seduced with a good story – something I call branding for public relations.
While approaching the media (both traditional and online), we must undertake the process of creating a unique image and identity that journalists, bloggers, and their audience can connect with.
And what better way to do this than through a story, a brand story. (Stories connect with and draw in, if narrated skillfully.)
In doing so, though, one has to remember that the story has to be condensed, because journalists and bloggers are busy people and can’t afford to spend more than a few seconds to skim your message. As such, provide them with a snapshot — as flash fiction.
For the unaware, flash fiction is a short form of storytelling. It ranges between 250 and 1,000 words, and includes one character, conflict, and resolution.
In keeping with the tradition of writing flash fiction, here we’ll discuss the process of writing your media pitch as flash fiction:
Start with action; start with conflict: Your hook has to come in the beginning since you can’t afford to waste words. Go full throttle with action and remember to introduce conflict. Think in advance whether you would like to build on an idea, an event, or an emotion. If you are focused on the emotion, let it ride until the very end – just don’t be mushy about it. Don’t explore the bigger stuff here; focus on a narrow aspect. While doing so, concentrate on the point of conflict, the major action, and focus on it. Start with a bang and build the intensity.
Words weave the magic: With regards to word selection, avoid emptiness and abstraction. Treat words as colors to paint the story, and let the reader (journalist or blogger) visualize an image and/or remember a personal memory, event, or situation. Avoid adjectives and adverbs like a plague. Use short sentences, and eliminate words that carry little or no weight/meaning, such as kind of, less, little, very, more, etc.
Ending is everything: While it may seem that the beginning is everything, it is actually the end that will decide the action on the part of the reader. One interesting element of flash fiction is in its ending that comes as either a twist or in the middle of the story. Try this flash fiction technique in your media pitch. Whichever you choose, please make sure the end leaves the reader with something that sticks in the mind and rings in the ears.
Last but not the least; while crafting the media pitch, have fun with words, action, and emotion. And, avoid Wikipedia-standard description of you or your project.