Recently, I attended a PRSA chapter’s Media Roundtable event where 12 journalists from different outlets and backgrounds gathered to give insight and best practices to public relations professionals. While all journalists have their own preferred way for you to pitch them – and it depends if their outlet is print, online, or broadcast TV – there are some similarities that PR pros should know.
Before you make your next pitch to a reporter, keep these points in mind:
1. If you provide multimedia, journalists will prioritize your pitch.
Start with a great pitch – and if you can provide pictures and videos to go with your story idea, journalists will prioritize your pitch. Every journalist that I spoke with mentioned attaching some form of multimedia to your email. Before you even write your message greeting, type *Images attached to email* in bold at the top, so the journalist knows you have provided more than just words.
2. Pay attention to the news cycle of the outlet you’re pitching.
Every media outlet has its own schedule of when it posts, distributes, or airs. Not all magazines publish monthly and not all news shows air daily. Research an outlet’s news cycle and schedule your pitch for that time frame. Local and national news is constantly happening. Media outlets can’t promise to talk about your story a week in advance. Pitch to them no more than two days before for the best chance of getting news coverage.
3. News outlets are thirsty for good news.
Often, when people think about the news, they think of the bad news. Journalists want to change the perception that they only report bad news. Send reporters good news stories about your company or the companies you represent. They want to celebrate with you the good your client is doing for the community.
4. Leave out words like “excited” or “happy.”
While this one was surprising to me, I understood the reasoning. You’re probably not sharing company news with a reporter that you’re not happy or excited about. To keep your pitch concise, avoid using those filler words. Make the reader of your pitch focus on the content of your story; you shouldn’t have to add that you’re happy about it.
These tips are a good baseline for writing pitches. However, you should keep connecting with journalists to find out how to personalize your pitches. And remember, your pitches should always be worthy of journalists’ time.
If you’re a PR professional who wants to learn how to make better connections with the media, download Axia Public Relations’ complimentary e-book “Learn Media Relations From the Media: What Journalists Want You to Know Before You Contact Them” today.
Clarissa Schearer is a fall associate at Axia Public Relations. She works in news and social media. Clarissa has worked for Axia since August 2019.