Pitching to the ever elusive media and getting your brand some mainstream coverage is harder than ever. If you want to get your name out there then you’ll need both a unique product, approach, and attitude. Here are some tips and tricks on how to pitch to media companies from leading experts in the field.
Everyone wants to be featured on television, radio or a popular online platform, but the key is to make sure you now the outlet you are pitching to (what they are looking for, what are current events they are focusing on and how you can connect) and that you are tailoring your pitch to get their attention so they see the value.
This requires you to research the company first, making sure what you are pitching is a good fit and then using phrases that show what you are pitching ties in well with a current event or something that has been in the news recently. If you can do that you are positioning yourself as an authority on the topic, and that will definitely get you noticed.
Contributors: Cyrus Webb from Conversations Media Group
There is a fine line between unique and weird. Your pitches have to be unique enough to catch the eye of those to whom you are pitching, but professional enough to be taken seriously by the readers. What bothers me most is when I get a pitch that sounds (1) just like the past 100 pitches I've received or (2) are unprofessional to the point where they leave a bad taste in the mouth. As a general rule of thumb, don't be basic.
Contributors: Chad Zollinger from Best Company
Your pitches will instantly gain credibility if you know the name of the person to whom you are pitching. This is sometimes unavoidable, but we all the awkwardness of writing Dear Media Manager. It just doesn't feel right -- and that's because it isn't personal. Generally, the more personal you get, the more convincing your presentation or pitch.
Contributors: Chad Zollinger from Best Company
It’s easy to get caught up in what you feel is so exciting about your product or service, company launch, event, etc. – but the reason you want media coverage can’t be the driving force behind your pitch. The way to get a journalist’s attention is by focusing on their perspective: what will make this a good piece for them and their audience.
What makes a pitch good for the media? A concise, strong hook that is applicable to their area of expertise – not a one-size-fits-all approach – written in a voice that would be appropriate for their audience. This lets the journalist / editor / producer / blogger / podcaster get the message immediately (they have zero time to waste) and visualize it as a finished piece. (Some may even use your pitch as their article, depending on the outlet.)
What makes a pitch good for their audience? Think about share-ability. What would make their readers / viewers / listeners want to tell others about the piece, either verbally or digitally? These days, that’s a strong factor for consideration – and if telling your story can make that happen, it’s probably a good fit. Many of the standard good business practices of PR remain the same. What’s different these days: more people have access to more outlets, so there are more pitches received. Taking the time to think it through from their perspective can have an enormous ROI!
Contributors: Denise Blasevick from The S3 Agency
One of the most evident flaws I’m facing in the tens of PRs and emails I receive each day, is the lack of a straight forward approach. Oftentimes, you need to read through 2-3 paragraphs (if you ever get there at all), just to understand what’s the PR about. Most emails are full of general and redundant information, heavily loaded with buzzwords and superlatives.
PR agents and executives think that this practice will impress the editors and the thought leaders in the media companies. Thus, improving their chances of getting published.
But this approach is obviously wrong. Media ‘gatekeepers’ and moderators are flooded with information and are usually very busy.
A straight forward approach, with a short, clear and well backed content, will do the job a lot better than hiding the message underneath a chunk of general fluff with buzzwords.
Contributors: Michael Pearl from Finance Magnates
To create a compelling message, you should put your focus on the data that backs up the importance of your pitch. The inclusion of numbers, statistics and other metrics in your pitch not only gives journalists rock-solid information to draw conclusions from but also boosts your credibility. In fact, a recent report from Cision stated that “60 percent of reporters believe the public values facts over opinions or feelings”.
Contributors: Cassie Gonzalez and Mike Melvin from OnePitch
Your one sentence pitch must get a yes. Use facts. Examples:
- A documentary about Tokyo public parks would be of interest to nature lovers and those planning to attend the 2020 Olympics.
- The effects global warming are having on my neighborhood will become more common around the world.
- My mother's secret lasagna recipe would interest the 23.3 million estimated lasagna lovers worldwide.
Contributors: Stephen Black from book merah
Our first step is seeing what aligned interests we have with the publication and then searching for the specific writer who covers our beat. Once we identify the writer, we dive into their pieces and - if possible - do a bit of relationship building by following them on social media, commenting on their articles, etc.
This gives us a little name recognition, which helps when writers are receiving hundreds of emails daily. We also like to talk to them about one of their pieces in the pitch - asking them a question about it or complimenting them on it. That way they know we are invested and not just pitching them in a mass email. Lastly, we quickly outline our idea and ask if they'd like more information. They're busy, so they will only ask for more if they are really interested.
Contributors: Liam O'Dowd from CimAlp UK
Believe it or not, your business and product, independently, aren't an intriguing subject. Consider what that story might be and envision what it could look like in the control of the journalists you have selected. From this viewpoint, prepare your pitch. Create your pitch by email. Permit it to simmer for at least a day, or instead for daily. If the concept is a great one, the journalist can respond straight away. If you do not hear back, maybe the second step is really a telephone. When you call, check with the earlier message. Irrespective of whether the journalists have observed it or not, re-forward as a courtesy because you're talking to permit the person to scan the high things of this message and preliminarily respond.
Contributors: Ashish Goswami from Zestard Technologies
Popular media outlets can get hundreds of pitches/e-mails a day, so it’s important that yours stands out. One way to do this is to give your pitch e-mail the perfect subject line. You want your subject line to be straight to the point, but why not make it stick out a little too? One tip is to include “TIMELY” or “EXCLUSIVE” to the subject line of a pitch as a way to tell your recipient that they aren’t going to want to miss out on what you’re offering them.
Contributors: Candice Simons from Brooklyn Outdoor
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