We strongly believe that pitching is an art form. Yes, you heard that right. If you look at a magazine, most of the stories are a result of a PR professional pitching the idea to a journalist. As a result, media receive hundreds of pitches from PR professionals every day (no exaggeration!). To stand out, pitches need to be creative, compelling, concise and thoughtful.
To support your next pitch endeavour, we’ve compiled our top tips for securing media coverage.
It’s all about the subject line: Competition is fierce, so to stand out it’s important to craft a concise, direct and engaging subject line. Otherwise, you’ve put effort into a pitch that may not even be opened. We like to make it clear that it’s a personalized pitch by including the outlet name in the subject, or highlighting the offer, such as “delivery,” “interview opportunity” or “invitation” followed by no more than five or six words that summarize the email.
Keep it brief: It’s also important to keep editing until you have a short, yet concise and compelling pitch. If it looks like an essay, it’s no bueno. It should be a couple of paragraphs at most, as you can always add attachments for them to dig into if they’re interested.
Focus on the story, not the product or brand you’re working for: This is one of the biggest mistakes made by those in the industry. Yes, you want media to cover your client’s new app. But, what’s going to get media interested in the app is the bigger picture story. How does the app impact what’s happening in the world? What are the anticipated outcomes of the app? Lead with that.
Timing is everything: The timing of the pitch is just as important as the pitch itself. This is why PR strategies are critical — pitches are often planned months in advance so media can be approached at a time when they’re most likely to cover it. For example, is your company going carbon neutral? Perhaps time the announcement to coincide with Earth Day for more impact.
Be direct about the opportunity: Tell media why they should be interested and what you’re offering early on in your pitch — not at the very bottom. Is it an exclusive interview with the CEO? A first look at a new product release? Be direct so they don’t have to read three paragraphs to get there.
Do your research: Writing a great pitch is only half the battle. Who you’re pitching is just as important. Building a list of media targets should be time-consuming, because it’s critical to connect with those that would be most interested in your story. First off, make sure that you’re familiar with the media outlet that you’re pitching and the stories they cover. Next, make sure you’re targeting the right writer or editor by reading their most recent work so you’re coming to them with a relevant pitch.
Make it personal: While mass pitching twenty or more contacts is efficient, you likely won’t get the same results. To build relationships and encourage a response, it helps to personalize your note. You can do this by referencing something similar they covered recently or call out that you know they love x,y,z as it relates to your pitch.
Give them the tools: Media are often required to turn stories around quickly while still being thorough. To make their job easier, provide them with background materials to cut down on any research required. This is why press releases, backgrounders, fact sheets, high-resolution images and spokesperson bios are important.
Follow-up: Those outside of the industry are always surprised when they hear that an interview was landed only after the third attempt at following up on a pitch. Yet, PR pros know it takes time and energy to get a pitch off the ground, and it doesn’t always happen right away. When following up, it’s important not to share the same pitch over again. Instead, build on the initial idea by bringing new insights and value.
Ready to take your brand to the next level with a media relations campaign? We can help! Contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our handy contact form here.