Wouldn’t we all like to know. Timing, structure, relevance, tone, relationships, research…. There are so many factors that come into play when trying to connect with a journalist and get your story told. The truth is, there’s no one secret tip that will always result in successful news coverage. If there was, PR professionals like us would be in big trouble.
However, there are numerous little things you can do to help improve your pitches, build successful relationships with reporters, and gain media placements. Today we’re letting you in on some of our Butin secrets. Try out these five tips when crafting your next pitches and you’ll be on your way to PR success.
Get to the meat of the story.
At the end of the day, a media pitch is all about telling a story that the media can then easily report to their respective audiences. It’s important not to lose the essence of your story with fluff, excess statistics and unnecessary narrative. Make sure reporters can tell why your story is newsworthy – give them facts they can digest quickly, in a way that makes the story easy to understand. And remember, the shorter your descriptions, the better.
You clicked on our blog post because you wanted to know the secret of the perfect PR pitch. How can you ensure journalists will click on your email when their inboxes are flooded with hundreds more messages from other PR types who also have stories to tell? Why should they care about yours? Pique their curiosity with a creative and intriguing subject line. Make them want to learn more. Feeling creatively stuck? Draft some headlines for your story idea and ask your co-workers for feedback. Would they want to read an article about that?
Do your research.
When developing your plan for contacting reporters, make sure you know who you’ll be speaking to and what topics they cover now and have covered in the past. The last thing you want to do is make yourself look like a novice by pitching a story to a reporter who’s assigned to an entirely different beat. But rest assured, you can make things even worse by obliviously pitching journalists a story that they just recently covered.
It’s also crucial to consider the specific audiences each media outlet serves. For your story, are you targeting the right demographic through this reporter? Will his or her readers/viewers be interested in this topic? Finally, when sending out a story idea via email, personalize your pitch – don’t let yourself be viewed by the media as the source of another generic mass email.
Spell check and grammar check your written pitches. Typos and grammatical mistakes not only look sloppy, but also are a reflection of your work and your talent. Double check to make sure that all links are clicking through to the correct websites. Remember, there’s a fine line between informality and carelessness.
Don’t be afraid of rejection.
Building a rapport with journalists takes time and effort. They get hundreds of pitches a day, through emails, phone calls and DMs. There’s a significant chance they might miss your first, second and third follow-ups due to their busy workdays. Learn to overcome the fear of rejection or neglect – and don’t feel discouraged. Resolve to build those media relationships. Follow up multiple times about your story, if necessary. And most importantly, remember that journalists are people, too. Treat them as humans, instead of just a means to an end.
With every pitch, good or bad, a strong PR professional will learn something new. Take these tips into consideration next time you are brainstorming a media relations plan, and please share your pitching successes with us!