Refining the art of media pitching is essential to secure our clients news coverage. Pitching to journalists is a critical skill for public relations professionals, and like anything, takes time and practice to perfect. At Durrell Communications, our team works hard to develop successful media pitches and keep up to date on the most effective practices to interest journalists and make headlines.
This month we’re sharing our insights on how to craft the perfect pitch, with journalists in mind.
What is a pitch?
Before attempting to develop a pitch it is important to have an understanding of what it is, and why it is important. A public relations pitch is a short message to reporters, journalists and media professionals that outlines the value of your story, clearly demonstrating why it is newsworthy. It’s designed to grab the attention of media professionals in order to amplify your story with the goal of publication and getting it in front of the public.
Pitches should be clear, concise and engaging to the reader. The intention of a media pitch is to entice the audience to write a piece about your story and publish it across their platforms.
When attempting to secure earned media, prioritizing the most important and positive aspects of your story to showcase your client and boost their reputation is inherent to a successful pitch. The better job you do of crafting a compelling pitch, the better the feature coverage will be.
Media pitching is also the perfect opportunity to build relationships and positive rapport with journalists. The stronger your pitch and the better your communication when engaging with the media, the more likely you are to receive consistent coverage and maintain strong, mutually beneficial connections.
What are journalists looking for?
Now that we have developed an understanding of what a pitch is, it is time to get familiar with what journalists are looking for.
When tailoring your pitch for journalists, it is important to be familiar with the current media landscape. By keeping in touch and up to date with the news, top featured stories and topics of interest, you will be able to better target your pitching in line with the stories journalists want to tell and make it easier for them to develop their next piece. Understanding the landscape is an important task whether you are pitching for regional, national or global coverage.
The Durrell Communications team works to tailor our media pitches by amplifying our clients’ stories and voices, as they relate to current events and the media landscape in their area and field. For clients with a local impact, community-based media outlets provide the greatest opportunity for coverage and influence. As our clients audience expands in regional and global spheres, we tailor our media pitching to land feature pieces in the appropriate and relevant outlets.
Compelling Subject Line
To make sure your pitch sparks the interest of a reporter with a crowded inbox, include a compelling and relevant subject line. A subject line can make or break your pitch, so our advice is to keep it short, to the point and to lead with the most important or newsworthy info. If your client’s name won’t be top of mind for a reporter, skip it, and provide the hard or exciting news in your subject line. The first goal is to get the reporter to open your email, and the second to convince them with your impressive pitch.
Always follow up. Even the best pitches can hit a journalist’s inbox at the wrong time, so the best way to ensure your pitch is fully considered and has the greatest impact is to follow up. By sending a follow up email, you are placing your pitch right at the top of a reporter’s inbox for the second time. A second readthrough of your story may spark interest, resonate more in a changed news climate, or may bring a great feature piece to the attention of the media who missed it on the first send. When you follow up with the media you are not only reinforcing the newsworthiness of your story, but it is also a second opportunity to gain coverage.
A perfect pitch also requires the perfect follow up. Our team at Durrell Communications suggests using a friendly follow up as the lead, and restating the most impactful and important info from your original pitch, to underscore to the media the relevance of your story to their media outlet. Timing is everything in the news, and that is why we always recommend a follow up to give your clients story a second opportunity to be amplified by the media.
Pitching The Right Outlets
When sending out a perfect pitch, it is important to think critically about the media outlets you are pitching to. Your story and client’s branding won’t resonate with all outlets, and for this reason, it is important to tailor your pitch list to target the most relevant outlets and journalists. Public relations professionals work hard to become experts on media outlets and reporters, and part of this work is understanding which stories are best geared towards which outlets to achieve the most meaningful coverage for your client.
As PR professionals, our team at Durrell Communications recommends putting together a high level list of media outlets and journalists that provide the greatest opportunity for media coverage. Once you have a base level pitch list, you can section these lists into media outlets and reporters who cover certain topics as they relate to your clients, such as tech, lifestyle, community initiatives and business. Once you have an understanding of who is most likely to cover what kind of story, you have a better understanding of who your pitch will resonate with and have a greater opportunity of achieving coverage for your client, without pitching to individuals and outlets whose focus does not align with your story.
Media pitches are one of the most direct and effective ways to get your clients name and story in the news. Developing the perfect pitch takes time and practice, but by utilizing the tools and steps we have outlined, you are well on your way to a perfect pitch that is ready to hit journalists inbox and garner attention and coverage.
Is your company looking to earn media coverage and attention? Durrell Communications can help you amplify your brand and achieve your business goals. Contact us at https://durrellcomm.com/contact/ to learn more!