September 27, 2018
Now, more than ever, companies are investing in PR and communications, understanding the value of positive brand representation in the public eye. As a result, the media landscape is becoming increasingly crowded and PR professionals need to work harder to get cut through for clients. Here at Yulu PR, we believe communications professionals should be smart with their time and energy, and mastering the art of media pitching is the best way to do so. How to achieve the perfect pitch? That’s simple; understand the media.
Step 1: The angle
As a communicator, you stand at the intersection between brands and the news agenda. While media pitching, a good communications professional will assess how these can work together to generate exceptional stories, rather than pushing out company news in to the ether. Consider how your angle will resonate.
- News hijacking: Does your story tie in to current events or trends, can you hijack an existing topic and associate your brand in a positive way? Google trends is a great resource to monitor the news and public agenda.
- Significance: Are you pitching the first / newest / biggest of something? If not, consider how you can craft your message to upweight the significance of your story, either with numbers or claims.
- Impact: Think of the end reader. How will this affect people, and why should they care? By keeping this top of mind, you’re helping the reporter to see the relevance of a potential piece.
Step 2: The target
As media outlets grow and evolve, reporters are becoming more specialized. This provides a great opportunity for brands to offer solutions, helping reporters to create impactful, interesting stories through media pitching. When researching target media, consider their:
- Beat: Think about not only the industry, but also their specialized areas of interest, and any recent work they have published. Searching Twitter profiles is a simple, but effective way to get to know media’s interests and recent work.
- Region: What about this pitch is relevant to their location? If nothing obvious, how can you tweak the pitch to make it more relevant?
- Type of outlet: Consider how your pitch needs to be tailored for TV, print or online and how it will translate across each. Don’t be afraid to share these thoughts with the reporter, to help them envision the end piece.
Step 3: The tools
When we consider the volume of pitches media receive each day, carefully crafting yours is crucial in achieving results.
- Subject line: Keep your subject line short. 50-60 characters is recommended to introduce the topic, without losing key words.
- Pitch note: Straight and to the point, your email should provide detail about the story angle, not just the business. Avoid attachments (they clog up an inbox), instead including links to relevant sites for more information.Where applicable, reference previous work by the reporter that aligns with your angle, and crucially, end with a strong call to action to see their interest in the story.
- Follow up: If at first you don’t succeed, pick up the phone! Though some media avoid follow up calls, you can save yourself and reporters time with a quick call to gauge interest, remind them of the piece and why it is relevant to them, and answer any questions they may have.
- No dead ends: Hopefully, you will have a positive response while media pitching. If not however, make sure to ask why it’s not relevant, using these learning for future pitches. You may even get a referral to another reporter, in which case the process has been worthwhile.
Finally, everyone is looking for a solution to their daily challenges; clients want positive coverage, communicators want to deliver results, media want to craft powerful stories, and readers are looking for interesting news. By recognizing each of these stakeholders in the media pitching journey, and considering them alongside these easy tips, you can help to ensure your stories land, time and time again.