The three essential ingredients for a trend story media pitch

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In a recent monthly session of reviewing media pitches by Inner Circle members, I heard myself thinking this about one member’s pitch:

“You’re trying to position this as a trend story but you’re missing some of the key ingredients.”

So I recommended adding some elements to strengthen her pitch, then I thought that the “recipe” for a trend story would be helpful for you, too.

Let’s use this trend story that ran in the NY Times this week to illustrate each of the ingredients. I don’t know how this story ended up getting published, whether it was the result of PR activity or not. Regardless, it gives us a good template. It’s about the rise of computer coding “boot camps” that quickly re-train people from other fields how to write software.

Most PR people merely propose their organization or client as an example of a trend. Their media pitches totally neglect Numbers 1 and 2 below, which are actually the most important.

1. Stats that validate the trend – Find these in 9th paragraph with the stats from Glassdoor, followed by the graduation stats two paragraph later. Even though these numbers don’t show up until halfway through the story, it’s unlikely a top-tier journo like one at the NYT would do this story without them to validate his take.

2. Individual people with compelling personal stories that illustrate the trend – See the opening anecdote about the waiter-turned-data scientist, and later the English major who landed six figures from IBM after taking an 11-week web programming course. Top journalists need stats to validate a trend to their editors, but they use personal anecdotes to make trends engaging to their readers/viewers. They also need people to take pictures of :).

3. Examples of companies/organizations that are driving the trend – See the references to the coding school called Galvanize, which gets mentioned several times in this piece, along with its competitors Flatiron School and Hack Reactor. Kudos to whomever handled the media relations for Galvanize on this one, and sympathy to the PR folk at unmentioned competitors who are wondering why they got left out.

Assembling ingredients 1 and 2 takes extra focused effort, and that’s why most trend pitches to top-tier outlets don’t stick.

That’s good for people like you, who are committed to getting results. You don’t just wish for things to happen, you take action to learn what’s holding you back. That’s why you read these posts.

Your media pitches will stand out because you are going above and beyond your competition.

The next step for you is to get much more in-depth coaching and examples. That’s what we do in the Inner Circle. Some members, like the one I mentioned above, choose a level of service that includes pitch reviews with me. Sign up here to learn more about the program and be alerted the next time we accept new members.

This article was originally published on Jul 30, 2015.