As public relations professionals, we are constantly pitching story ideas, press releases and events to the media. A “pitch” is an overview of your client’s news or interesting information that you share with a media outlet or reporter in hopes that they write a story. Below are five tips for pitching the media.
- Do your homework—Before you reach out to the media contact, look at his or her previous stories. Have they recently covered your topic? Determine the best way to tailor your pitch to make it personal and timely for this particular news outlet.
- Know what you’re “selling”—Make sure your pitch answers the who, what, when, where and why. Be prepared to answer simple clarification questions that the reporter may ask.
- Keep it brief—If the reporter doesn’t read your email all the way through the press release, did you include all the basic information for the reporter in the first few sentences?
- Include a hard ask—If you want the news outlet to run a story, ask if they are interested. If you want them to interview your client, ask if they would like for you to arrange a meeting. Sending information as an FYI with no hard ask won’t get you very far.
- Follow up—Sending an initial email is important to give a reporter the background needed to consider a story. The final, and possibly most important, key to landing a story is the follow up. We are so used to working behind a computer screen that we forget the impact of a simple phone call. Pick up the phone and call the reporter to make sure the information was received and to gauge the reporter’s interest.
Reporters get a barrage of pitches every day. Hopefully these tips will help you craft the perfect pitch, grab the reporter’s attention and land you that big story. Happy pitching!
Director, Elizabeth Christian Public Relations