No matter how unique and compelling your business’ story may be, a well-thought out pitch can make or break whether or not you can achieve media attention. Pair an artfully-crafted pitch with a solid relationship with your chosen reporter, check out “The Nature of the Beast” Reporter & Media 101: 5 Traits You Need to Know, and you’ll be batting 100.
Here are 5 “golden” guidelines to take your pitches to the next level:
- Target Your Audience: Don’t just pitch your story willy-nilly in the hopes that you’ll receive more attention. Blanketing the town should never be your goal. Rather, figure out who your key audiences are that you’d like to get your message out to. Figure out which publications, blogs, broadcast and radio stations would be your best avenues for reaching that target audience. Then, go through each media outlet and find which reporters have covered similar topics and make a note of that reporter’s name. If you don’t see a reporter covering anything at all similar to your topic, move on.
- Capture Their Attention: Reporters are a busy bunch, and receive dozens of pitches each day. Keep that in mind as you craft your pitch. If your pitch doesn’t stand out from the crowd there’s a good chance it could get overlooked. One of my favorite tactics is to put the best and most exciting information in the subject line. Many times if the email title offers the reporter nothing they will move on without even opening the email. Another tip is to put anything interesting (stats, trends, facts, etc) within the opening few sentences of your pitch.
- Keep it Short and Sweet: Don’t get fancy, get to the point. Reporters hate wasting time. If a reporter opens an email pitch and sees that it is longer than 2-3 paragraphs they’re going to move along. Include just enough information to get them interested. Any additional information should be saved for the press (news) release.
- Make it Timely: Sometimes timing your pitch to coincide with a larger event in your market may make a lot of difference. For instance, if you run a brewery a good time to put out a story about your business could be right before St. Patrick’s Day. However, if your story involves your brewery adding an expansion and it’s January, chances are you’ll want to put it out well before St. Patrick’s Day. Wait too long and it’ll just be old news. It’s all about strategy.
- Be Polite: Tailor each pitch to the appropriate reporter and greet him or her by name. Perhaps you could briefly mention an article of theirs you enjoyed. But don’t forget, their job is not to get your story out. They hold no allegiances to you, especially when they have dozens of other businesses clambering for their media attention. So be respectful, reply quickly and use your “please” and “thank you.”