DIFT = Do It For Them

DIFT is an acronym I use to remind myself to “Do it for them.” As in, journalists and bloggers are stretched so thin these days, they are willing to – and in some cases – needing to allow us to do legwork for them.

Here are some quick points about what you can “do for them”:

Find a third-party source. Not as important for blogs or digital native outlets like BusinessInsider, but most top-tier journos still require an outsider’s viewpoint to validate a trend or weigh in on a new development. And hunting down such a source with knowledge of the development you’re pitching requires precious journalist time. So find one or two for them. Best such sources are at a recognized, independent institution such as a university or trade association. Consultants and analysts work best if they are citing some sort of research rather than just giving their opinion.

Example: A network morning show producer recently told me about a company that referred her to an industry consultant. The consultant had no incentive to highlight the company, and in fact praised a competitor as well as the original company. The producer told me this really impressed her and made her more predisposed to include the original company and its claims in her roundup story.

Suggest some real people. Identify some regular folk, not in your organization, who are experiencing the trend or using the product or affected by the change. Such are often difficult to find on short notice and therefore appealing to the harried reporter.

Example: That same producer also gushed about a company that provided a list of a dozen customers and invited her to call all of them. She did, and that allowed her to find the “real person” that she thought best illustrated the story. Now, most journalists today won’t invest that much research, so it’s best for YOU to call a dozen customers and whittle those down to the ONE with the most compelling personal story.

Provide visuals. You know from your social and owned content that even slapping a mere stock photo on an item increases engagement. Journalists and their digital marketing overlords know this too, so ideally they’d accompany every piece of content with a visual, preferably a video. You know all those short videos with onscreen text (essentially captions) you see on social? More and more online publishers are moving in that direction. Help them out by sending them cool-looking b-roll they can use to create those videos in their style. When that’s not an option, at least paste a relevant photo into your pitch.

Example: One successful PR shop I know creates a photo illustration for every pitch they send out. As long as it’s clearly identified as such, you can dramaticize a story angle visually, and even traditional media will increasingly share those with their readers/viewers.

P.S. I created a lesson about “Do It For Them” inside the Crafting the Perfect Pitch online course.

This article was originally published on December 7, 2017

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