Pitches must be newsworthy and succinct for outlets to pick them up
Whether it’s your first time pitching to the media, your 100th time, or your 5,000th time, you need to make sure there are things you consider and keep in mind. When you're getting ready to pitch to the media, you need to be clear on this: what's the actual story you're pitching?
You need to have honest conversations with yourself, your team members, and possibly even your company’s executive team to ensure you are all on the same page. You want you and your company to be a resource for the media and not a hindrance nor someone who is sharing something the media doesn’t care about. Here are five things to consider before pitching to the media.
Will it be worth it to anyone outside the walls of your office? Some items are noteworthy only to your own employees or even to your customer base. These items may be better used for blog or social media posts. If you aren’t sure, be sure to check out the elements of news before you reach out to a member of the media. It will help you know what you should and shouldn’t share with the media about your company.
Remember to make your pitch interesting. Reporters get hundreds of emails each day from people wanting to write a story about their company. Short subject lines catch a reporter’s eye and may be more interesting than longer subject lines.
Keep it short. In your initial pitch and outreach, you want to keep it short with the who, what, when, and where easily read and above the “fold” or before the reporter needs to scroll down. Keep sentences short and even consider using bullet points to make them stand out.
Keep it in line with what the reporter covers. You don’t want to pitch the education reporter a business or non-profit story. If your pitch covers two beats, then CC both reporters in one email so you aren’t pitching one and then the other, and the reporters get angry with you as they both look to write a story about the same thing.
Make sure you're giving them something of value. Value is the worth or importance of something you share with the reporter. For example, give a reporter or an outlet the exclusive tip for mergers and acquisitions or when you plan to open a new location.
Pushback. Sometimes you may be required to push back the client (or your executive team) who believes every single thing they do is newsworthy. Breaking news: it's not. Be prepared to share with them that some items may make better social media posts.
Pitching the media shouldn’t be hard. Sometimes, we all need a little reminder though to help us be more successful. These six items — as well as when and how you pitch your company or client news — determines if you become a person that reporters will ignore or someone that media outlets depend on as a great resource.
You want to be a resource to media outlets and solidify your company and spokesperson as a thought leader in the industry. If you do it right, then you may find that reporters start to reach out to you when they are assigning a new story. Learn other media relations tips by downloading our e-book on the topic.
Clients love Marjorie’s work ethic, speed and diligence. She has worked with Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Marjorie graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Learn more about Marjorie.