A pitch is when you reach out to a media or influencer target to share your story with the hope that they will want to write about it or share your story in some way. The media receives hundreds of pitch emails every day. You need to find a way to stand out among the clutter. If you don’t, your email will quickly be moved to the trash.
What it really boils down to is that you need to be able to connect with another human being in such a way that they will want to hear more about what it is you are pitching. It is about building relationships. When you pitch the media, don’t think of it as a “one-and-done” strategy. Think of it as a long-term strategy where you make an impression and then you can keep the conversation going while you get more acquainted with your media target.
Here are a few things to consider to help you put together a great pitch that will get you noticed:
- Be selective with who you pitch. Your story won’t appeal to everyone. If your business is about beauty products, you likely wouldn’t pitch a sports reporter. While that is an extreme example, you do need to get to know the people on your media list. Look at what types of articles they write and what topics they cover. The goal is to tie it in with something they are interested in already. If that means cutting your media list in half, then do it. It’s better to have a highly targeted list where you have more chance of getting coverage than if you waste time pitching someone who would never cover your story.
- Personalize your pitch. Once you have your targeted list, take the time to personalize it by talking about how it fits within their overall topical focus. Reference articles they have written in the past. This will take extra time, but it will make a better impression on your media targets because it shows that you have thought about what you are writing rather than just sending a form letter.
- Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about the story. New companies and products come around every day – it’s not news to the media. You need to find a way to make your news stand out. Think about how your news fits into a broader storyline. That is what you want to focus on.
- Include a call-to-action – and don’t beat around the bush. Your pitch shouldn’t be too long. Keep it to a few short paragraphs. That means that you have to get to the point. Tell them why what you have to say is relevant. Tell them what you have to say. Tell them what you want from them. Make it easy for them to say yes by being clear and upfront about what you want.
- Don’t be annoying. We have all fallen into the “well, they didn’t answer, so I am just going to call again” trap. Often, if you are calling a reporter, they may say they prefer email on their voicemail. Or perhaps they have had a busy day and just didn’t get to it during that day. Give your pitch time to breathe before following up. Wait two days and try again. There will come a point that if they don’t respond to you, they likely just aren’t interested. Don’t take it personally, just move on.
Writing a pitch seems like an easy thing, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t nail it right away. It takes some getting used to. Give me a call if you need to bounce ideas around!
Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making it unique to you.
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