10 Practices for Media Pitching

By Dana Sotoodeh

If you want to succeed in PR, it’s imperative that you know the best practices for pitching media. It seems simple, but anyone who works in media is extremely busy and doesn’t have time to deal with their overly crowded inbox.

What’s the trick? Get in the mindset of a journalist or a reporter and follow these 10 practices for successful media pitching.

1.)  Research your reporter: Take the time to know who you’re pitching. Pitch a sports pitch to a sports reporter. Pitch a beauty pitch to a beauty blogger. A little research always goes a long way.

2.)  Don’t clutter inboxes: As stated before, and will be stated again, media is extremely busy—just as busy as you. Although you’re on pins and needles about that perfect pitch you wrote—give it a couple of days. Often times, media is so busy gathering other research or building other stories, that they simply haven’t gotten to it. Give it anywhere between five days or a week before you follow-up. With that being said, make sure you pitches are planned in a timely manner, so that media has enough time to answer and act on them.

3.)  Don’t use attachments: Depending on what e-mail service or type of computer your media contact has, attachments aren’t always dependable. Although attaching a media alert or fact sheet seems easy, go with pasting it underneath your e-mail signature. This not only ensures that they receive it, but ensures that they don’t have to click elsewhere to access it. One simple scroll is all it will take for them to get to your awesome release.

4.)  Use Social Media- Did you just see a journalist that you follow on Twitter cover a tech beat similar to your tech client? Good! Use their work as a conversation starter. This not only builds rapport with them, but allows you to informally pitch them another idea you may have that’s somewhere along those lines.

5.)  Tell stories: Pitches aren’t supposed to be boring. Yes, they are supposed to provide information, but save the piled on facts for your press release. With thousands of emails in the media’s mailbox, a boring intro line isn’t going to catch anyone’s attention. Make your pitch something that you would respond to.  Journalists want stories. What’s the point here? Think like a journalist.

6.)  Find angles: Your job as a publisict is to always work every angle. Coming up with five to six pitch angles for one new product launch is the best thing you can do. One of those angles may work for a magazine, and not for a newspaper. The more options you have—the better off you are.

7.)  Offer an exclusive: Media outlets like to feel special. If you know that your pitch would work perfectly for one certain outlet, there’s nothing wrong with offering them an exclusive. If your client gets a spot in an outlet that’s beneficial to their product, it ends up being better for them in the long run.

8.)  Be reasonable: Sometimes a better angle to take when it comes to offering an interview, bylined, or Q&A is to not always offer the biggest boss around. Although it makes an article look credible, journalists also like to get personal and be able to tell stories. Sharing a story of someone who is a huge advocate of the product often works just as well and it’s usually easier to get in contact with them. Never limit your interview options to only CEO’s and upper-level management. Consider all of your possible options.

9.)  Know the answers before they ask them: Media’s time is valuable. The best thing you can do as a PR pro is be fast at answering any inquires from the media you may receive. Often times, media doesn’t say “yes” right off the bat. They usually want to ask a couple of questions about the client or spokesperson available. Make sure you are completely familiar with what you are pitching in order to avoid the media losing interest. A quick and thorough response is the best response.

10.) Be personal: You know all of that networking you have been doing? This is when it pays off. If you have a good history with a reporter or journalist, make sure you personalize your pitch to let them know you’re thinking of them. Weather you call them by their name, or tell them that this pitch reminded you of them, the personal touch will always go a long way.