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Turn Pitches Into Publicity With 4 Journalists’ Tips

When it comes to getting the attention of the media, many PR folks find it near impossible to stand out in a sea of pitches.

I’ve been pitched myself, from people trying to reach my marketing blog audience, and there are certain pitches I immediately trash. Like those that aren’t addressed to me by name, despite my name being fairly easy to find on my blog. Or those that are completely irrelevant to my audience.

While I could write an entire post on what not to pitch (and maybe I will one day), I wanted this post to focus on what actually does work in getting journalists’ attention. So I asked actual journalists to help!

1. Use facts and examples

Snapple Cap - PItching Reporters

Journalists aren’t stupid. They can tell when you inflate the truth, and a thinly guised advertisement isn’t going to get you anywhere. But those pitches that are grounded in reality are more likely to get their attention, or at least Matthew Reischer’s attention. He’s a writer and Chief Editor for the blog at LegalAdvice.com and curates content for the Legal Marketing Pages Corporation’s various legal websites, so he’s gotten every pitch imaginable.

“Pitches that try too hard, are too absurd to be real or clearly are trying to sell a product irk me something fierce when I am looking for good content to source. I prefer pitches that are well reasoned and grounded in facts with illustrative examples.”

2. Be thorough

Journalists are busy and don’t want to have a back-and-forth email conversation with you about your story. Lin Grensing-Pophal, a freelance business journalist for publications like EContent Magazine, Hospitality Technology and HR Magazine, says the pitches she’s most likely to respond to are detailed.

“They provide pertinent information that clearly demonstrates their expertise/knowledge and they include enough detail that, should I choose to, I could pull comments from the email itself – which happens fairly often; after all, journalists are very busy people and the easier you can make it for them the better!”

Want more great advice for pitching journalists? Get your free “Pitch Perfect” guide now!

3. Customize your emails

No Spam - Pitches

This is my own personal tip. I’ve been getting what appear to be customized pitches, but when I scroll to the bottom of the email, I see I’m just on a MailChimp list somebody’s built of media contacts. That doesn’t make me feel like you took time out to research what I talk about, and it certainly doesn’t make me interested in talking about your product.

Sure, it’s more work, but make each pitch a separate email and customize it to speak specifically to each journalist. Make them feel special.

4. Not cool? Build relationships.

Okay, so we don’t all sell eye-boggling products like the Foodini 3D Food Printer. (Sorry; I needed an example of something uber cool!) And as Jennifer Riggins — who writes about startups and innovation in Spain for CBS SmartPlanet — says, unless you’re known, journalists don’t care about you unless you’re doing something innovative. And if that’s not the case, you should start building a relationship with the journalists you’re trying to reach through social media.

Riggins says the way to reach her is “…asking and answering questions on social media, retweeting and sharing, and then finally sharing with me a unique spin on your story. If you can pitch me an idea in under 140 characters, I know I have something interesting to write about and want to interview you further.”

Sure, there’s a lot more noise in the ears of journalists and bloggers these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get their attention with a well-crafted pitch. Just know who you’re trying to connect with and give them a reason to want to work with you.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, where she helps her clients realize the benefits of social media, content marketing and blogging.

Image: Paul L Dineen, Sabrina Dalman, gajman (Creative Commons)

About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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