From corporations to one-person shops, almost any business benefits from media publicity. Whether the story is pitched with the Vocus PR suite or with HARO, we see the incredible results of successful media pitching every day.
Winning that major piece of coverage all hangs on your pitch: a phone call, email, tweet, mailer, or some combination of all four, that convinces a journalist to share your story with the world. You could play it straight or get creative with a personal video as, in these essential pitching tips.
We’ve put together a list of 103 pitching tips – probably our biggest list ever – starting with tips from yesterday’s UnPitching webinar with Scott Stratten that will help you persuade a reporter to share your next piece of news.
- Don’t use your media database to send email blasts. Use it to find and research reporters who cover your industry before you can engage with them.
- Don’t use all caps in your pitch’s subject line. You’ll come off wrongand reporters won’t read it. WOULD YOU LIKE A SUBECT LINE IN ALL CAPS?
- Once you’ve built a relationship with a reporter, you don’t have to have any gimmicks in your email pitch. Just your name will make them want to read what you have to say.
- Scott reads one pitch for every 100 he gets. The one he chooses is normally from someone who he has a relationship with.
- If it’s relevant to their coverage, experiment with send free products with a creative pitch and don’t ask for anything in return. Then follow up.
- Be sincere when you send pitches. The person knows that you want something from them, but if you’re sincere in your pitch, they won’t mind and will hear you out. Your pitch should help them too!
- Find a handful of reporters who have an audience that would care about your product or service, and then focus on them and get to know them. You’re pitch isn’t about reaching the reporter, it’s about helping the reporter connect with their community.
- Do your research on the media contact first. Read their blog and articles and follow them on Twitter and Facebook to find out their interests and style for reporting.
- Engage journalists on social media. Don’t kiss up; people will see through that, but don’t be afraid to comment if you have something compelling to add to the conversation
- Pitch a story, not a product – this is not a commercial!
- Keep your pitch short and relevant
- Consider other story angles
- Try various channels – especially if you know a certain reporter would be interested
- The phone still works
- Be persistent
- There are tools out there that can help (PRWeb and HARO, to name a couple)
More here from Blogging PRWeb
- Know how and when a reporter wants to be contacted
- Tailor your message to the individual reporter. A carbon copy of your press release won’t cut it
- Don’t send attachments when pitching via email
- When calling a reporter, introduce yourself fully and reference previous conversations
- Never make promises you can’t keep
- Follow up properly
More here from All About Public Relations
- Get to know reporters on a personal level
- Don’t hide your contact info – make it easy for reporters to find
- Include links to photos and video in email pitches
More here from Media Bistro
- When you get on the phone with a reporter, ask permission to pitch first
- Respond promptly if a journalist wants more information
- If a journalist isn’t interest in your pitch, ask how you can help with that they’re currently working on
More here from PR in Your Pajamas
- Make sure your pitch is news, not marketing
- Be mindful of a reporters’ deadlines
- Offer exclusives
More here from PR Daily
- Talk like a human by limiting jargon and buzzwords
- Resonate with reporters on a visceral level
- Don’t consider a press release a pitch – it’s a supporting document
- Don’t tweet a reporter asking if they got your email. It’s overkill.
More here from The Next Web
- Give reporters statistics
- Show your passion
- Give reporters immediate access to the people they want to speak to for their story
More here from Business Wired
- Don’t be an annoying Twitter follower who pesters journalists
- Offer plenty of meat in your pitch
- Stay on target with your pitch
More here from Dierdre Breakenridge
- Reel reporters in with your subject line
- Write compelling copy that grabs and keeps a reporter’s attention
- Tie your pitch to a current event or trend
- Don’t quote yourself
More here from Frugal Marketing
- Be different by offering a new, novel or original story
- Involve a big name in your pitch
- Be at the extreme by including superlatives
- Put a face on your pitch by offering human interest pieces
- Make a national story local and pitch it to the outlets in your community
More here from The Nonprofit Times
- Think like a journalist and put yourself in their shoes
- Use real news as the hook for your pitch
- Avoid waffling and exaggeration
- Think laterally, not niche
More here from MYOB
- Pitch your print placements to broadcast outlets
- Use hyperlinks when pitching bloggers, too
- Make the first ten seconds of your phone call with a reporter count
- Don’t be afraid to send the same pitch to 2-3 people within the same outlet
More here from the Vocus blog
- Talk the talk – know reporter language (b-roll, vosots, etc.)
- Try to pitch between 10:30am – 1:45 pm
- Be mindful of sweeps periods (Feb., May, July, Nov.)
- Share a story idea that demands continuing coverage
- Outline the timeliness of your pitch to create urgency
More here from JT PR
- Make sure the pitch fits the publication
- Use spell check! Misspelling the reporters name will get you blacklisted
- Put the actual news in the headline and subhead of your email pitch
More here from Business Wired
- Have three versions of your elevator speech: 15, 30, and 45 seconds
- Make the reporters job easy by sending high-res b-roll – if you have it
- Be confident: if your pitch is timely, interesting, relevant and fits within the reporter’s beat, then you have nothing to worry about.
More here from MGA Communications
- Flag important email pitches – especially those that are time sensitive
- Include lead-time for reporters: pitch 3 days to a week before news occurs
- Pictures and videos must be of high quality, or they’re of no use to the reporter
More here from Business 2 Community
- Know your reporter’s primary audience
- A-Ha! Offer a surprise in your pitch in the form of data, facts or figures that are unexpected
- If big news breaks the day of your pitch, hold it for a softer news day
More here from Bianchi Biz Blog
- Search editorial calendars of outlets/reporters to see topics they’re interested in
- Before getting to your pitch, ask if you’ve reached the reporter at an OK time for them
- Apply newsjacking to your pitching
- Pitch magazines 3-6 months before news is relevant
- Pitch radio interviews at least two weeks out
More here from Sandy Bell, Inc.
- Don’t bury your lead – you’ve only got a few words to get the reporter’s attention
- Don’t take rejection personally
- Thank reporters for their time, regardless of whether they pick up your pitch this time
More here from Babble On Communications
- Position yourself as an expert
- Realize the story is not in your product, but what your product has done
- Embrace controversy in your pitch
- Develop an underdog angle to your story
More here from Top Story PR
- Focus on quality of media contacts, not quantity
- Pitch reporters who have unorthodox beats that may fit your story
More here from Blast Media
- Don’t include every single detail about your story. Some deliberate omission will help you keep the reporter’s attention
- Be prepared to answer questions from journalists. Know your story inside and out
- It’s fine to copy several relevant reporters on the same email pitch
- Don’t try to leverage coverage you just got in a competitor’s publication
More here from Burrelles Luce
- Add a personal touch at beginning of your pitch (e.g. – “Hi Bob, I love your column in the Seattle PI about fashion.”)
- Copy and paste your press release into emails for pitches. Attaching releases will get you caught in SPAM filters Sure, but write a pithy, personal pitch that introduced the release to the reporter.
- Create and send press kits via direct mail, if you can afford it. It will differentiate you
- Sundays are a good day for email pitches, as there is less clutter in reporters’ inboxes
- Don’t hesitate. A lot of times with breaking news, the first pitch in wins
More here from Seattle PI
- When pitching on Twitter, find the actual reporter, not the publication
- The same pitching rules apply on Twitter: build relationships, stay relevant, etc.
- DM only after you’ve built a relationship, especially you play to offer an exclusive. Don’t abuse this – if a reporter follows you it’s a privilege.
More here from Spin Sucks
- Track publications to see what types of articles have been most successful for them
- Get and use customer testimonials in your pitches
More here from Sterling Communications