Pitching to the media can be tricky business. Many people worry about annoying an editor or producer by contacting them, so they don’t take any action at all. Or they assume that the media is inundated with requests and that there’s no chance of getting featured. This also stops them from even trying.
Unfortunately, this can lead to missing out on opportunities simply because no action is taken!
Here’s the secret: the media is ALWAYS looking for new, valuable content to share. And if you know how to present your story idea to them in the right way, you might just land that opportunity!
So where do you start?
Start with writing a press release. While a press release isn’t necessarily the first thing you give to the media, it is very important in collecting your story ideas. And if the opportunity to pitch a story comes, you definitely want to have a press release on hand if they want to know more information!
Then, you can pitch the media by contacting them over the phone or email. These days, you might find email is the most effective way to get your message across. Reporters and writers are busy people and they rarely want to be interrupted with a phone call.
When you start writing, keep your correspondence short, sweet and to the point. Your pitch is way too long if you’re staring at more than two or three short paragraphs on your screen.
PPR Strategies’s Quick Pitch Tips:
- Don’t use a lot of jargon: Don’t assume your reader knows the lingo of the economic development industry. Put your writing in terms that the average reader will be able to understand.
- Understand the writer’s interests: Do your research. Before you click send on an email, make sure that you thoroughly understand the writer’s primary subjects and topics. (i.e. Don’t pitch the sports reporter about your community’s latest enterprise zone designation.)
- Don’t use the same pitch over and over again: Don’t simply copy and paste the same exact pitch to 30 different writers. Realize each writer might have a slightly different focus that will require your pitch to be refocused, too.
- Don’t be unprepared to respond: Have your research on hand and be ready to respond to the media if there is interest in your pitch topic.
- Don’t have poorly written subject lines: If you email your pitch to the media, your subject line needs to be just as strong as your pitch—if not stronger. A reporter gets hundreds of pitches each day. Your subject line should be enticing, as well as showcase how your story idea fits the writer’s area of interest.
- Don’t be unprepared: Writers and reporters face deadlines that require quick turnaround. In order to be seen as a valuable resource, you need to have a wealth of information that crafts a compelling story. Make sure you can answer questions quickly and accurately. In order to effectively meet these demands, many organizations have a media kit prepared.
Pitching to the media takes practice. Rest assured, you will find media placement gets easier as you build a rapport with your local writers, anchors and editors. It’s important to learn as much as you can about their work, so that you can harness a symbiotic relationship and become a valuable resource.
Want help crafting pitches that land placements? Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation on what your organization needs to start getting media opportunities.
‘Til next time,