Are you struggling to land a news story for your company or client? Let’s be honest, pitching is not easy and can be really frustrating! After pitching several ideas to news outlets over the past year, how many stories have you secured? Most of us know that we are pretty lucky to even receive a response from a reporter, let alone securing a story. After speaking with reporters and learning from my own personal experience, I have some great pitching advice for you to follow.
Keep it brief
Whether calling or emailing a reporter, keep it simple. When calling, always ask the reporter if they have a couple of minutes to talk before jumping in to your pitch. Summarize your pitch to 60 seconds or less. When emailing, be sure to create an eye-catching subject line and enticing first sentence. Without even opening the email, some email systems show the first sentence for users to read. PR Daily suggests being blunt in the subject line. An example would be “Teen Billionaire Pitch” as a headline would grab attention, as well as tell the reporter why you are emailing them.
Pitching the media is just like an interview. Would you go into an interview without researching the company first? No. So, treat this like an interview and show the reporter you did your research. Check out their LinkedIn pages or Twitter accounts and write a line to show your research at the beginning of the email pitch to catch their attention.
Know your audience. Researching doesn’t just include researching their interests. Make sure you understand the topics the reporter covers and don’t contact them for anything outside of those topics. Read their articles and get a feel for what they are interested in. Tools such as Cision, the world’s largest media database, can be very helpful to figure out what topics each reporter covers and good times and ways to contact them with story ideas. When pitching, be sure to point out a previous article they wrote and explain why you think their audience would be interested in your story idea.
Don’t be a hero. Though it may position you as an expert, avoid industry or expert related words. Using these words won’t help reporters understand your point. Make it simple for the reporters to understand, so they can turn your story around immediately without needing to decode unfamiliar words for their audience.
Follow reporters on Twitter
Build relationships with reporters by following them on Twitter. Reply to their tweets, but don’t immediately pitch them. This is a valuable relationship that needs to be built over time. Some reporters will even ask for help in regards to specific information needed for news stories on Twitter.
These are just a few tips, but Vocus offers more great tips for public relations practitioners to follow. If you are looking for a digital marketing agency that offers a wide range of services to help your company, give us a call at 214-414-3035.