In a recent blog, we outlined how to identify if your marketing campaign is newsworthy. This blog will outline best practices and tips on how to pitch your story idea to a journalist.
Understanding the art of email pitching can make the difference between getting coverage and getting ignored. However, it’s essential to approach this process strategically and professionally to increase your chances of success.
Let’s dive into the key steps and strategies to successfully pitch a story idea to a journalist.
Research the Journalist and the Publication
Preparation is key. Ahead of reaching out to any journalists or media outlets, take the time to research the outlet’s audience, the journalist’s beat, and their recent coverage. If their audience is interested in your topic and it fits under the umbrella of what the journalist covers, you will increase the likelihood of capturing their attention.
Develop a Compelling Yet Succint Pitch
A good media pitch is direct, interesting, and engaging. Journalists receive countless emails and pitches each day, so it’s important to put together a compelling, yet succinct, pitch. Grab their attention with a subject line that excites them and highlights the newsworthiness of your story idea. Explain why the story matters and how it would be of interest to the journalist’s audience. Always offer a subject matter expert who can speak to the journalist should they have more questions.
Provide Supporting Data, Sources or Information
Always include relevant background information, data, statistics, or expert quotes that strengthen your pitch idea. You want to make it as easy as possible for the journalist to see the value and potential of your story.
Provide a Timely Hook or Offer Exclusivity
If you want it on the news, it better be newsworthy! Make your story idea more appealing by offering exclusivity to the journalist or highlighting its timeliness. Journalists are often looking for unique and timely stories that will interest their audience.
Tailor Every Single Pitch
Never, ever send the same exact pitch to more than one journalist. Take the time to personalize each pitch by addressing the journalist by name and explaining why it fits their specific beat. Reference their previous relevant articles to establish a connection and show that you are familiar with their coverage. By personalizing your pitch, you will show that you have taken the time to understand and respect their work.
Follow Up Strategically
Remember – journalists receive countless pitches each day, so it’s essential to follow up without being overly persistent. You don’t want to annoy them. If you don’t receive an immediate response, it’s okay to follow up after a week or so. Keep your follow-up concise and reiterate the key points of your pitch. However, avoid being pushy or aggressive.
Build Long-Term Relationships
Public relations is all about relationships – so pitching a story idea shouldn’t be a one-off interaction. Once you’ve made contact with a journalist, you can do things like engaging with their social media channels and sharing their articles. By nurturing press relationships, you will establish yourself as a reliable source and increase your chances for future coverage.
By strategically using a combination of research, preparation, and effective communication, you can substantially enhance your chances of capturing a journalist’s attention and successfully getting your story published. Happy pitching!
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