How To Pitch To The MediaJul 18, 2020
By Claire Winter
Are you looking to pitch a story to the media? Perhaps you are trying to market your business or share some good news with the world. There is no point sending a dull press release so here are 10 tips to help you through!
Take a Risk
Pitching stories is all about taking risks; you don’t know what the outcome will be. If you are worried about putting yourself out there, ask yourself: what is the worst that can happen?
The worst that can happen is they say “no”, in which case you move on, but it is worth risking for that golden “yes” opportunity!
Question Your Own Pitch
It’s easy to write your pitch and believe it is great – and belief is so important – but it has to ring true for others as much as it does for you. Ask yourself: so what? Why does your story need to make the news? How will it benefit others and is it relevant to society today?
Approach Journalists Effectively
There are multiple ways to contact people in modern society – text, email, call, social media, and more. However, consider the best option, not just for you but based on what the journalist wants. Once, calling may have been the right way to do things, but now, email is often more effective, and sometimes even a tweet!
Prepare Like Crazy!
Make sure you know absolutely everything about your story before you try to pitch it. Journalists have no time to waste, so if you are fumbling over statistics or forgetting something valuable, they may just tell you to look somewhere else.
Make it Personal
Doing a bit of research can do no harm. Get in a journalist’s good books by relating your pitch to their own work. Does your story cover their popular themes, or relate to a specific article they’ve written before?
Provide Extra Content
Journalists are super busy and have many deadlines to meet, so they want someone who is prepared and ready. Providing extra content to your pitch could give you an advantage. If you can share quotes, photos or case studies early on, you may give off an organised and proactive impression.
Journalists love a story that is complete and ready to go!
Be Short and Snappy!
If you like to ramble, stop yourself now! Journalists don’t have time to waste, so make sure you’re pitching with as much efficiency and speed as possible, whilst also getting your story’s central message across. This includes pitching to them on the phone – you have earned their time, but don’t waste it!
If a journalist isn’t interested in your pitch, don’t rule it out forever. There are many other options for collaboration, such as writing something for them instead. You never know, they may revisit your story at a later, more relevant, date!
Some media, such as the national press, want to be the first to run a story, but don’t let that stop you from utilising other publications. Instead of giving a full story, why not consider taster statistics, an interview, or a different angle? That way, you can still release your full story to other places too.
Rejection, as hard as it is, is just part of the process. No one can get it perfect first time around. If someone isn’t interested in your pitch, don’t take it personally – it was just the wrong timing. Keep going, keep pitching, and don’t forget to say thank you, regardless of the outcome.
Claire Winter has been a content creator, journalist, and dedicated tea drinker for twenty years. She is a trained NCTJ journalist and started her career at ITN in radio and television. Passionate about helping business owners create content that converts via her online mastermind and 1:1 training, she loves sharing writing tips and content tips over in her own community, Cracking content.
Claire currently writes for all 41 Families magazines covering the UK and reaching 9 million parents a year. She has helped hundreds of large and small businesses with content marketing campaigns in print, online, and social media.
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