12 Tips for Pitching Content to the Media
Pitching to editors is an important part of public relations, but most people have never been taught how to do it the right way. These tips highlight the most important aspects of an effective pitch and provide insight into what journalists are looking for when they open their inboxes.
1. Target the right reporters.
“Research the reporter, especially his or her beat, tone and style. Read the reporter’s most recent stories – make certain the reporter is the right target. Research your own pitch and make certain it is accurate, newsworthy and interesting. Research the outlet itself to determine the best time of day and method of pitching. Research the news around your client’s industry and make sure you are not competing against any major announcements, scandals or tragedies. If you are, hold off.” Czardom CEO Jennifer DeMarchi, @jenmeg
2. Anticipate needs of the reporter.
“Writers and editors are so busy and pressed for time. Be sure you present them with timely, valuable information, i.e. an idea, a trend or something they can build a story around. You’ll have much better luck than just sending out a press release about your company.” Branding Expert Ruta Fox, @DivineDiamonds
3. Build relationships.
“Being thoughtful is just plain smart. Presenting pitches that are concise but fully formed and relevant will save the reporter time. If this is a trend story, include two other non-client brand examples that will authenticate the pitch and again save the reporter time.” – DeMarchi
4. Always be professional.
Read more about this tip here.
5. Use social media.
“Follow the key reporters’ or editors’ social profiles, learn their ‘beats.’’ 10-x Group CEO Holly Rollins, @hrollins.
6. Release the journalists’ article on all of your social media sites.
Help your journalist help you. This increases exposure for both the publication and for your pitch. Read more about this tip here.
7. Name a competitor and explain why you are the better choice.
Discussing your competitors gives more color to a story, but ONLY IF you can effectively explain why your service is better. Be absolutely sure you are explaining this because mentioning a competitor does have the potential to backfire. Read more about this tip here.
8. Email effectively.
“Respect their preferred method of communication. For most media, they prefer an email pitch, followed up by an email. Overall, most prefer email vs. phone calls.” – Rollins
9. Follow up.
“Be thoughtful about follow-up. Avoid calling at the end of the day when they may be on deadline and don’t leave a million messages. No one, especially editors, likes a stalker.” – DeMarchi
“Remember: Journalists write for a living. Misspelling a reporter’s name is a death wish. Bad grammar, typos, emoticons, excessive exclamation marks and shorthand text terms imply you are careless and unprofessional.” -DeMarchi
11. Back up your claims with other news sites, but don’t show them that another publication has already covered the news.
Journalists don’t want to see that you’ve given the first “scoop” of the story to another publication. Read more about this tip here.
12. Don’t nitpick minor things—EXCEPT for an editorial style.
Be relaxed about stylistic decisions and feelings that the product was inadequately supported – be easy to work with, and journalists will be more likely to publish your pitches in the future. It is important, however, not to switch editorial styles says Rollins. Many media prefer the Associated Press style of editing, which can be found here.