One of the most important aspects of public relations is pitching to media outlets. After all, strategies, tactics, press releases, and events are meaningless and ineffective if people aren’t aware of them. Successfully pitching the media is easier said than done, however, and the success of a pitch is what can truly set a PR professional apart from a novice. To get your story noticed and in the news, follow these six pitching tips:
- Find the right fit. Most reporters get dozens of pitches (or more) every day, so do yourself a favor by finding the right media outlet to pitch. A blog focused on education likely won’t cover your story on farming, while a health and wellness magazine won’t respond to a pitch about junk food. In general, the best outlets have a tie to your story, either geographically or topically, such as a local newspaper for a story about a community fundraiser or a car blog for a story about new engine technology.
- Do your research. Once you’ve found the correct outlet to pitch, narrow it down to the right reporter. Take the time to become familiar with the outlet to see what kind of stories it covers and what reporters cover which topics.
- Personalize it. With the perfect reporter in mind, craft a personalized email that appeals to their self interests. Make sure to address the reporter by name (spelled correctly) and even reference a recent story they’ve covered to show you’re really interested. The majority of pitch emails are cookie-cutter notes, so even just a personalized sentence or two can get their attention and help you stand out.
- Make it relevant. You may have a great story for the reporter to cover, but unless you get to the point and tell them why it is so great, you’re likely to be passed by. Make sure to cover the important aspects of the story, like who, what, when, where, and why, and especially why it is newsworthy. Try tying your pitch in to current events, community concerns, or other important topics. Make it engaging and captivating so the reporter feels they have to cover it or their readers will be missing out.
- Follow up. There’s a fine line between following up and being pushy. In general, if you haven’t heard from a reporter in three days, it’s acceptable to send a short follow-up email. However, don’t send more than three emails about a pitch to the same reporter.
- Pitch multiple outlets. It typically takes a few attempts before a story sticks. Increase your odds by pitching to multiple media outlets, but be sure to personalize each pitch. It takes time to reach out to multiple outlets in an effective way, but the effort can pay off richly when your story gets picked up.
Pitching media outlets is as much an art form as it is a science. By following the above steps and honing your pitch, you can have success in the competitive PR world.