Pitching Tips: Timing is Everything
Do you send out press releases? Write tailored emails to journalists? Call reporters on the phone? Or send them a short and sweet note through social media? No matter the method, you should be considering the best time to do it. A timely pitch could mean the difference between a read or a toss in the trash—so here’s how to strategically position your pitch in front of the media contact you’re trying to reach:
1) There really is no best time to pitch. Yeah, we said it. This takes part due to the hectic nature of news and the media. How many times a day are you pulled into a meeting or away from your desk? A reporter gets ten times more of that, so figure out their work schedule.
2) Hey, so…when do you work? It may be a bit awkward, but calling and asking a member of the media when the best time of day to reach them can save you a lot of hassle in the long run. If you use Vocus’ media database, we do it for you. If you don’t, it’s as easy as researching the reporter online through Google, Facebook or Twitter.
For example, if you want to pitch your story to the TV news, watch that news show. What time does it come on? It’s safe to assume that they are in the building a few hours before the broadcast. However, don’t try to call and pitch something within two hours or less of going live—this will only cause frustration and confusion.
3) Pay attention to deadlines. A polite way to figure out the best time to reach your contact is to ask them when their deadlines are. Sending stories a week or two early is great, but knowing when your contacts need it is ever better.
4) Is this a good time to talk? Schedules aren’t always rigid, and for a journalist, it’s nice to hear (before you start your pitch): “Is this a good time to talk?” That shows you care about their time and makes them more likely to be receptive to a call-back from you later.
5) Sometimes, it’s best to wait for them to call you instead. Using a service like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a great way to have journalist’s deadlines and stories in your inbox. Otherwise, sometimes it’s best to take a line from communication pro Peter Shankman and just send them a line saying: “If you’re not interested in this story, I/my biz specializes in ____. If you ever need sources on a story for _____, here is my contact info.” This good karma email is one of the best ways to get on a journalist’s good side and establish a working relationship.
(Photo-Flickr Creative Commons: smemon87)
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