By Belinda Sieben
Pitching to journalists is an everyday task for us PRs. A good pitch is vital to ensuring it is not ignored.
Here is Tonic PR’s five top tips to remember when pitching to media:
- Have the who, what, where, when, why up top.
You want to set the scene for the journo so they know what you’re getting in touch with them about. A journalist receives hundreds of emails daily and often they don’t have time to stop and read the entire email to get your pitch. You need to let them know exactly why you are contacting them within the first few lines. They will then decide if they will read the rest then or flag it for later. Also, if they don’t understand what the story is about or why you are contacting them within the first few seconds, it’s likely the email will go straight in the bin. Our number one tip is being punchy! Another little trick is to use bullet points for anything that requires extra details.
- Foster relationships with journalists so you can tailor the pitch to suit them.
Getting to know a journalist is key. Once you know what they like and what they don’t like it will make pitching a lot easier. If they can put a face to a name and recognise the name popping into their inbox, they are more likely to read the email. An easy way to get to know a journalist is to engage with them on social media. Or why not catch up for a quick coffee near their office. You don’t always have to be pitching to a journalist to have a conversation with them. Asking a friend to do something is always a lot easier…!
It also helps to do your research to see what they have been writing about, who they have been writing for (if freelance) and include this in the pitch if you can. Many people miss this step. Take the extra time to skim the writer’s last few articles to get a feel for their audience and writing style. Choose an angle and use specific examples that will appeal to them.
- Have all your necessary assets ready before you pitch.
Never pitch without having all the assets such as images, recipes, quotes etc. The last thing you want to be doing when a journalist responds is organising a last-minute photographer or ringing a chef to get them to write a recipe up. This makes you look unorganised, the client annoyed and the journalist will move on to the next story and forget about yours. We suggest always having a minimum of three images in both portrait and landscape format. Always have at least one quote on hand or a spokesperson who can provide a quote as required.
- Triple check before you press send.
Check spelling, grammar, names, factual tidbits, word length. If any of these are wrong it can turn a journalist right off the story. How would you feel if you opened an email and your name was spelled incorrectly or addressed to someone else? You’d probably delete it. I would. For such reasons, avoid using the cut-and-paste method when pitching to journalists especially if you pitch via e-mail.
- End with a call to action.
Ask the journalist a question. I don’t know about you, but when I receive and email asking a question then I feel more obliged to respond. Simple examples include, ‘What do you think?’ or ‘What else do you need from me to make this happen?’.