Journalists get thousands of stories pitched to them every day.

Q: Why is your narrative newsworthy?

It’s hard to get your story heard, there’s so much noise out there –  you must present facts that the public want to hear and learn about.

At the end of the day, news outlets want information that will get them attention and help increase their ratings. If you help them do that, then you’ll be heard.

Here are our tips to get your story picked up:

1. Only send stories to journalists that cover similar topics.

So do your research. Don’t send a story to a journalist that is known to cover e.g. war & conflict, when you are targeting a story that impacts health. Once you’ve found a journalist that covers health topics, reach out to them. Read their articles/posts/tweets etc. then comment, or offer something new that may help them develop their research. Find out if any journalists have been impacted with ALS, e.g. through a family member or close friend. In these instances, journalists are more likely to cover your situation.

2. Reach out in Advance.

If you want an event to be covered by the press, then make sure to reach out to them as soon as you can. Many news outlets prefer a minimum of 2-3 weeks notice prior to the event. Sending a mail the day before an event, doesn’t result in much coverage.

3. Be succinct.

Journalists are busy, they don’t want to read a long 3,000 word essay. Stick with 300 words or less and ensure that you have a compelling headline. We also recommend bullets, they are easier to read.

4. Use quotations or statistics.

Get your point across quickly. The statistics about ALS are scary. The Stats below are taken from document created by I AM ALS (a great resource – check them out), for example:

  • An estimated 1 in 15 adults alive today – 135 million people – will be diagnosed with a neurological disease. It can happen to anyone.
  • Every four minutes, someone in the world is diagnosed with ALS and someone dies from ALS.
  • ALS diagnoses are expected to rise by 69% by 2040.
  • Military veterans are twice as likely to die from ALS as the general public.
  • There is a life-saving treatment called NurOwn® developed by Brainstorm Therapeutics that can help ALS sufferers, but it needs full approval from the FDA.

5. Do include a video or Picture of the person.

Personalize the situation, include a summary about the person on whose behalf you are writing. A personal element is powerful. We recommend using the link to a video, such as the video that Dan and the Shultes family so bravely shared to help create awareness about this terrible disease.

6. Persistence and Research are you friend.

Don’t give up, but make sure that you target the right people at the right time. You’re competing with lots of other stories right now, especially the COVID-19 and the potential number of people who may die from this; so it’s going to take continued perseverance to get through. Don’t give up. If you have something of interest to your news outlet, that is also of importance to their viewers – you’ll get picked up.