Written by theSusan G. Komen Race for the Cure account team
Knowing how to pitch to the media is perhaps one of the most important skills for PR professionals to master. It’s not always easy to get coverage for your client, but the Allen Hall PR team created a list of 10 things you can do to write the best pitch possible:
- Introduce yourself
In your first sentence or two, explain who you are and why you’re reaching out. Now, this isn’t a time to get into a long introduction (see #4), but explain to the journalist why they should continue to read on.
- Practice timeliness
Make sure that your story is current. News outlets are constantly updating their material with the latest happenings, so make sure that your story has a truly relevant impact right now.
- Know your audience
It is important to be able to relate to the people you are trying to reach with your message. The places where 15-year-olds go to get their information are probably different than where someone in his or her 80s might go to get their information. It is also essential to understand the specific media outlet you are working with. A place where someone receives information on politics is probably not the same place they go for fashion. Know where your audience gets their information and which sources they trust.
- Keep the important information short and sweet
Keep your pitch short, sweet and to the point. As PR practitioners, we are the experts on our clients and the issues that we are pitching. It’s our responsibility to make sure every word of our pitch is important, is convincing and provides all the information a journalist will need to write a complete and cohesive story.
- Do your research
Doing your research on the journalist you pitch to is essential. Make sure that whomever you direct your pitch to is someone who writes for a section that pertains to your story. Also, it doesn’t hurt to see what that journalist has been writing about recently or stories similar to yours that have been covered by that media outlet. Having knowledge of the publication and the journalist’s past will greatly help you shape a narrow and effective pitch by providing context for the story and playing to the writer’s strengths.
- Show the impact
“So what?” Make sure that by the end of your pitch, you have answered this question. It is vital that you can show that your story will have an impact on that journalist’s audience, whether that is a call to action or more knowledge about your client. Show that your story will be relatable to the audience and that readers will be able to identify with your issue.
- Keep it close to home
The more localized the issue is, the more likely it is create a connection with your audience. Even if your client works on a national scale, figure out how to make the story applicable to the media outlet you’re working with. The closer the story is to home, the more people will take notice of your story and want to know more.
- Add some pazzaz
Are you pitching a story that has already been written about? It’s time to get creative with your angle. Sure, maybe your issue is common, but there is always a way to find a fresh perspective. Whether that perspective includes new information, a new story or highlights specific individuals, make sure to always give your stories a unique twist.
- Highlight the conflict
Good stories often pose a problem. For your pitch to stand out, try recognizing both sides of the issue. Diverse opinions can fuel great conversation.
- Don’t give up
Be persistent. Many times, you’ll have to pitch to multiple media outlets before getting a single response. Make sure you tailor your pitch to each individual media outlet. If your story doesn’t get traction the first time around, figure out ways to make it more appealing. With that said, make sure you are only emailing journalists a reasonable amount. It can be tempting to email someone every day, but giving him or her a few days to respond is most likely the best practice.
Happy pitching, fellow PR professionals!
Connect with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure account team!