Pitching to journalists successfully can be a bit of a dark art. Knowing who to pitch to, when to pitch, and what an earth to include within your pitch can be a minefield, especially if you’re new to PR.
Not only are journalists difficult to pin down and get a response from, they receive on average 200 pitches a day from PR professionals, so how can you get their attention?
Do your research
There is no point sending a blanket press release to a bunch of contacts who you think might be interested in your story. Instead, take the time to research key publications and journalists, and work out the very best fit for your idea.
This means spending time uncovering new titles and reading what each journalist writes about, from keeping up to date with their social media channels, to subscribing to publications, to reading articles by the journalist you think may be interested in your story.
Once you’ve uncovered that a particular journalist often writes about pre/post pandemic return to office backed up by data for example, start to think about your angle and how you can entice the writer into finding out more about your idea.
Nailing your pitch
Now it’s time to reach out. Ensure you’ve got the correct contact details for the journalist you’re wanting to contact, and begin drafting your genius pitch mentioning all the sweet spots you know the journalist likes. You don’t always have to be super formal, you can absolutely mention that you too have a cat or dog that licks your ankles while you’re remote working as well. Be precise and don’t waffle. Journalists' time is precious, they want to know what your story is about and why they should write about it, quickly.
If you’re pitching a client, link to that client within the body of your email. This saves the journalist time having to Google said client, and briefly explain what they do. If you can link to an article of theirs you enjoyed reading that is of relevance, do so.
Pitching outside the of the box
Sometimes you have to pitch outside of the box. Often we need to secure coverage when we haven’t got a big announcement in the pipeline, so being creative with pitches is a must. This could be focusing on a topic that you know a journalist is interested in, sending them a novel pitch offering an expert comment on this subject for example, or if there’s a key world event coming up (such as the rugby world cup) use this, be creative. For an example of this, see here to see how we secured coverage in Property Week for our client Coyote.
The don’ts of pitching
There’s a few things that may seem obvious when it comes to the ‘don’ts’ of pitching, but we can all forget from time to time so here’s your reminder.
- Reply to journalists if and when they get back to you in a timely manner - don’t leave them hanging. They will forget your pitch.
- Don’t miss your journalists deadline - let’s not upset them!
- Keep to the word count if one is set by the journalist
- Don’t go off topic, stick to what you pitched
- Don’t waffle or go on and on about your clients’ products
- Don’t be offended if the journalist doesn’t reply, it’s not personal, they are busy and on this occasion your pitch just isn’t right for them
And finally, be confident, if you’ve followed the above advice, you’re in great shape to start building your journalist relationships. Happy pitching!
To find out more about how we can help your company secure press coverage, get in touch.