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How to Sell Your Sports Story to the News Media

How to sell your sports story to the media
(image: John Martinez Pavliga)

Getting your sports story covered by the news media can pay off in a big way.  Improving your reputation, selling tickets or merchandise, promoting your brand are just some of the many benefits of positive media coverage.

But how do you generate interest in your story with reporters and producers who are overworked and overwhelmed? These are the six keys to selling your sports story to the news media.

1. Package your story. Make sure your story and your messages are solid before you present them to a reporter. (We'll cover how to create your messages in future posts, soon.)

2. Target the right media. Your first step is determining which reporters are appropriate for your story. Do internet searches on your topic and see who covered them and how they handled the story. Your target  audience will help determine which media to approach. For example, if you’re after business professionals, you’ll target your local business journal and other business media, versus the general media. You can find media contacts on the internet, or in media guides at your local library. Use search engines to learn about specific reporters.

3. Use your contacts. Check with your business and social network to see who knows reporters with the media you have targeted. Make some calls and put out the word on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. When you find that connection ask for an introduction. You may also find that you can introduce yourself via your online social connections.

4. Work with on-line media. If you gain coverage with an influential blogger, your story can gain traction online and get picked up by the news media. Target sites that have natural connections with your story and engage in conversations with the bloggers and their readers.

5. Build relationships. As in the rest of life, relationships are the key to success. Reporters and producers appreciate when you help them get their jobs done--especially when there's nothing in it for you. Give them information that helps them, without benefit to you. Do this before you ever need them and they'll be way more receptive to your ideas.

6. Don’t give up. The more targeted contacts you make the better. Follow up regularly without being overly aggressive. Listen for signals about backing off and do so.  Since you are trying to cultivate longer term relationships, keep in touch, stay helpful and you'll eventually find reporters who are open to covering your story.