Pitching to the media – some dos and don’ts
This week we’re delving into the world of pitching to the media. A hit-or-miss minefield of dos and don’ts that can often define a media campaign’s success. You can spend forever finessing a press release – but actually what’s far more important is your pitch and getting the right journalist’s attention by telling them something new (the clue is in the name of ‘news’ after all).
Here are some helpful PR pitching tips that we’ve discovered through our own ‘hits and misses’ – we hope you find them helpful.
Keep it concise
From a journalist’s point of view, there’s nothing worse than a pitch that drones on and on. Before pitching, it’s crucial you understand what your key points are.. Once you’re familiar with the content, find the most succinct way of getting across the information you think they’ll want to know about. It’s easy to sound like a robot spouting random information and facts. Journalists receive hundreds of emails a day after all, best to make their life easier.
Make it personal
Speaking of journalists, they want to feel special! If your pitch looks like it’s a fresh copy and paste job with no specifics or personal detail, it’s going to look like spam. In other words, try incorporating why a certain publication or journalist would publish your story. If your story revolves around the health sector, make sure the health editor knows that you know it would be something they might be interested in covering and the reasons why.
Is it news?
Before you pitch, have you challenged your client that what you’re pitching is actually news? Is it relevant to what’s going on in the news agenda – is it a new innovation, idea, launch or happening?
Ensure you’ve highlighted how the take you’re making provides a unique insight. Or how important/relevant this piece is and what the audience at whatever publication stands to gain from reading it. If it isn’t relevant to the news cycle, then find a way of expressing how your release starts a conversation or is just interesting to read.
Know your audience
Let’s take that health sector-related example and apply it again to this point. If you’re pitching that media, then it makes little sense to pitch to a lifestyle journalist. I know this sounds so straightforward, but refining your sendout, researching who has written about your subject and tweaking your media lists all help increase that success rate. There’s also no point sending your health story to every journalist covering health at a publication, because only one journalist will actually write it!
Build that repertoire
Finally, and possibly most importantly, build a relationship. If you combine all our tips and add in a sprinkle of thoughtfulness and personality then you’re bound for success. Over time, building conversations with journalists means not only they know you better (and know you’re not a robot) but they understand better the message you and your client are trying to convey. Thus, they’re more likely to publish your story when they realise it’s credible, informative and comes from the nicest PR in the world.