With the wildly unpredictable and fast paced nature of the news, attempting to capture the media’s attention can certainly feel like a brutal round of The Hunger Games.
Alas, media pitching is an integral part of daily life for PR professionals. While the circumstances surrounding each pitch vary, at lotus823, we follow a general set of rules to give us the best odds in connecting with the press.
DO: Research is Everything
Consider the influx of emails that journalists receive on a daily basis- most of which are pleas for their attention. The goal for PR pros is to stand out amidst the madness. Rather than take a shot in the dark, it’s best to spend time researching the proper contacts before conducting outreach.
The first step is to hone in on media outlets that cover material relevant to what you’re pitching. The next step is to familiarize yourself with the publication’s reporters and their beats. Once you’ve targeted journalists who cover topics relevant to what you’re pitching, you can get started.
DO: Personality is Key
You’ve found your contacts and now it’s time to write the ultimate pitch.
Whether you’re promoting a product or you’re sharing a press release, the body of your pitch should have a clear purpose. Avoid the fluff and focus on facts- What is the news? What is the product or service? Who is your client? Where is this happening? What does this mean for the outlet’s audience?
Once you’ve got that down, the fun part begins. At lotus823, we like to get creative and infuse our pitches with thought-provoking detail to clearly illustrate the value of the product or news we’re introducing.
We also reference a writer’s style/past stories in an attempt to show them we’re familiar with their work. At its heart, PR is about establishing relationships- and you can’t get there unless you’re willing to venture beyond the surface and really connect with others.
DO: Keep it Short
There is such a thing as TOO much detail. While a pitch should contain all necessary information, it’s important to keep it as short as possible.
A long email with a wall of text is likely to turn reporters off as soon as they open it up.
Include proprietary information and rest assured that if someone expresses interest and answers you, you can always provide further details in your correspondence.
DO: Keep it Up
You’ve done it- you’ve secured media interest with a fantastic outlet!
Your responsibility doesn’t end here. As a PR pro, it’s essential to establish yourself as a trusted source for key media contacts long after a story runs. Maintain correspondence and reach out as you learn of news that might interest them. This creates a long-lasting give and take relationship that benefits you and the reporters.
DON’T: Be a Nag
Once the pitch is out there, it can be extremely tempting to send out follow-up after follow-up, especially if you’ve found the perfect media contacts.
The reality of the situation is, if a writer doesn’t respond to your initial pitch and one follow-up attempt, chances are that they are not interested. Rather than spam their inbox, step back and take some time to reevaluate your pitch.
You can always reach out again at a later date with a fresh angle or new tidbit of information.
Happy pitching and may the odds be ever in your favor!