To get media coverage for your business, it is a good idea to come up with some potential industry hooks for feature articles to send to target publications. These could be aligned with scheduled comment pieces a journalist is on the look-out for, or can be more proactive topics you have identified, which you think would be relevant to a particular title.
But the truth is that journalists can receive up to 100 pitches per day, so it is important to make yours stand out from the crowd – if it doesn’t it’s likely you’ll be ignored, and your time will have been wasted coming up with the ideas and writing it.
So, here are five simple steps to follow in order to get your pitch noticed…
Step 1 – do your research
Before doing any pitching to a journalist, it is so important to read the online publication or magazine. This is because you need to ensure that your idea aligns with the title and would be of interest to its readers. It’s no good suggesting an advice-led tips blog if the company doesn’t feature these for example, and it will be evident you haven’t done your research!
Step 2 – always try to email
Journalists are very busy people, usually working to tight deadlines, so they would much prefer you to email them your ideas, than spend ten minutes on the phone with you. If they don’t respond, the majority of the time this means they have seen your pitch and are not interested, so it is not a good idea to bombard them with follow-up messages and calls.
On the other hand, if your pitch is very time-sensitive you must act fast for the article to be relevant and newsworthy. In this case, phoning may be the best thing to do – for both you and the journalist. A good tip is to always check if they are free to talk at that particular moment – if they aren’t, make sure you ask when is a good time to call back and keep the call short and sweet, giving them only the key information.
Step 3 – be precise
You don’t need to give tonnes of background information on your business – get straight to the point about what it is you are pitching. More importantly, consider exactly why they should publish your piece. Think about where your article would sit in the publication and point this out to the journalist. Also be sure to give them specific topics and potential titles you want to cover, not vague and general ideas that will leave the journalist guessing what the news hook actually is.
Step 4 – get to the point
The subject line of your email is the first thing that your recipient will see, which will therefore determine whether they open it or not. Spell out exactly what the news or idea is in plain English – don’t try to be clever with your language as this will only leave them unsure, and more likely to ignore your pitch.
Step 5 – personalise your pitch
Your email should always include the name of the person you’re pitching to, the title of the publication and the feature or page you want to contribute to. If you have a generic vague email that you send to multiple people – without any specifics – they will know instantly that it has been issued to the masses, and will suddenly become disinterested in your ideas.
As I have mentioned, journalists don’t have a huge amount of spare time on their hands, so make sure your pitch is carefully crafted and to the point. If there is a particular publication you really want to get your articles featured in, make sure you frequently read it to ensure your pitch is super relevant.
Finally, it is a good idea to try and meet with journalists if you can – you will then become more familiar to them and can find out exactly what it is they are looking for!
Good luck and get pitching!