Pitching news can be tricky. Reporters are busy professionals who receive dozens of requests for coverage each week. Your job in soliciting coverage is to deliver a meaningful story hook that is of interest to their readers and viewers. Last week we talked about crafting a press release. This week we will focus on how to share it and garner the attention of local media.
To start, do some research:
- Know the outlet you’re pitching to. What subjects does the publication/blog/news station cover? Who are its readers or viewers and what interests them? When does it publish or air? Which reporters cover what beats? Does the outlet have a specific feature or section where your news is a good fit?
- Identify your target outlets and reporters. According to PWR New Media’s 2013 survey of journalists, 87 percent of reporters prefer to receive pitches by email. So when making the pitch, keep it simple and get to the point.
How to prepare your pitch:
- In your first paragraph: Present an angle that will appeal to the reporter’s interests. Get to the point as quickly as possible and lead with your most interesting material. The more targeted your approach, the better chance you have of making a connection.
- In your second paragraph: Focus on how your news benefits others. The more timely and relevant to current trends, the better. Come up with one major selling point and two or three facts that reinforce its significance. A bulleted list is helpful because it’s easy to skim.
- And finally: Provide a link to (or copy and paste) your release and accompanying visuals below your introduction. This way reporters don’t have to spend time downloading files. If you don’t have a release that’s OK – it’s not a requirement – but make sure to sell a compelling story idea in your first two paragraphs and make yourself available for follow-up.
Not every pitch receives coverage, but it’s important to remember reaching out to reporters is about building relationships. Be friendly and respectful of their time by being prepared. You never know when your expertise could be called upon for a future story.
- Editor shares important dos and don’ts of pitching | Ragan.com
- 5 myths about pitching your story to the media | Growth University
- How to pitch: 6 things you must know | Inc.com
Next week: How to prepare for a media interview in five steps