If you’ve stopped by The PR Pocketbook on Instagram lately, you might be aware of my most recent content series: 100% That Pitch.
The aim of this series is to introduce you to all things media relations, from making media besties to building your online media centre. In doing so, I hope to bring you one step closer to securing coverage in your dream publications.
Now, you don’t need to be a PR pro to know that media pitching is a huge part of media relations. Media pitching is one of the key ways we get our businesses in front of journalists, in the hopes that they then get it in front of their audience.
‘Perfect’ pitching: a disclaimer
Before we start, it's important for me to point out that, really, there is no such thing as the 'perfect' pitch. Why? Simple: because journalists are humans and, therefore, naturally prefer different things. Just like any recipe, what floats one journalist’s boat simply won’t float them all, so I’d advise getting to know your target journalists at your target publications and working out what they seem to prefer.
That said, there are thankfully some ingredients that are winners across the board. So, let’s jump in. Here’s your recipe for the ‘as close to perfect as possible’ pitch (catchy, I know!)
A cup of Timeliness
Journalists are looking for stories that matter NOW. Yesterday’s news just doesn’t sell copies. For this reason, make sure to highlight why your story is relevant and interesting now in your pitch. Without this, your story is unlikely to make it to print.
A dash of Human Interest
Stories that pique our interest as humans are what journalists want. Whether it be through shocking statistics, emotional stories or personal connections, journalists are always hungry for the stories that reel us in. Think about ways you can add realism to your story, from conducting research to compiling case studies to validate your points.
A splash of Tailoring
And a big splash at that! I’ve stressed it before and I’ll stress it again: each pitch you send needs to be tailored to the journalist and publication in question, making it clear why your story would be of interest to their readers. Nowadays, this is the bare minimum expected by journalists. This starts as early as your opening line. Opening your pitch with no name or, God forbid, the wrong name is pretty much a one-way ticket for your pitch, to the trash bin.
A pinch of Personality
Journalists are more likely to connect with your pitch if they can first connect with you as a person. Don’t be afraid to show your human side in your pitch: use language that evokes emotion (to an extent) and show your personality (while maintaining professionalism). These are all effective ways of warming the journalist up to you and your story.
A spoonful of Uniqueness
Just like the timeliness element, the last thing any journalist wants to do is print a story that has already been printed, particularly if it’s been printed many times before. If you’ve already had luck with one pitch in a different publication, think about how you can change it up to be unique for this outlet and its audience. If this is your first time reaching out with a pitch, think about how you can make your news different to the countless other small business stories printed previously.
With these ingredients, your pitch is bound to impress. Remember that coverage is never guaranteed, and nowadays you are likely to be ignored or rejected far more often than featured. But, by ensuring you stick to this recipe, you’re giving the journalist everything they need should they want to contact you and place your story. This is all you can do.
If you put this recipe into action, I’d love to hear about it! Come and join The PR Pocketbook community over on Facebook to share your pitching stories, and hear from other small business owners on their experience too.
I’ll see you there!