Media pitching is completely different than writing a blog post, social updates or even a press release, but it’s an extremely important writing skill to have if you want journalists to feature your business. Get it wrong and your message will end up in the trash, but get it right and reporters will shine a light on your company, exposing you to a new world of potential customers, increasing your brand awareness and name recognition.
How do you make sure your pitch stands out from the hundreds that the media receive every day? Keep reading to find out!
5 Writing Tips to Consider When Media Pitching:
As you put together your next media pitch, keep in mind these general writing guidelines to make the most of the words you use.
- Write with Purpose. It’s no secret that the more you write the better you get. As you begin your next piece, whether it’s a blog post or media pitching, you need to craft it with a purpose. Writing with a goal in mind gives you a clear path to follow and helps you focus on the message you’re are trying to communicate.
- Avoid Common Sayings. Clichés are overused sayings everyone knows; typically they don’t add a unique perspective to your piece. Before you use an outdated cliché, stop and think of new, exciting way to express your thoughts. Avoiding worn-out phrases will add a fresh and engaging angle to your piece.
- Clear the Clutter. Get to the point of what you want to communicate and escape unnecessary fillers in your writing. Your words need to add value for your audience; if they don’t support your goal, they don’t need to be there. To help clear the clutter, focus more on what insight you want your audience to walk away with.
- Be Direct. Similar to clutter, fluff also distracts from the quality of your writing. Don’t drag out what you want to say by using unneeded adjectives and details. Be direct and straightforward, explain your thoughts concisely and leave the fluff for someone else.
- Find your Voice. Don’t be afraid to put a little personality and flair in the language. Writing about a topic you’re passionate about should be fun, so let that shine through in your words. Allow your excitement to flow into your pitch; it makes for a much more engaging opportunity that the media will pick up on.
These guidelines are important to consider not only for media pitching but should be top of mind for all of your writing activities.
Media Pitching 101
It can be nerve-racking to approach an editor or journalist with your story idea. If you’re nervous about reaching out to the media, here are a few basic media pitching lessons to keep in mind.
Find Your Audience and Journalists
You may already have a few publications or journalists in mind that you’d like to pitch your story idea to, but in order to get the best coverage for your brand, consider:
- Where you do business geographically and develop a target list of journalists for that area.
- Who your target audience is and where they get their information. Make a list of these publications and the journalists your brand fits with.
These specific lists will help you reach a larger scale of people who are interested in brands similar to yours and increase your odds of being featured.
Journalists are People and Professionals
Contacting the press is intimidating the first few times, but remember they are people just like you and me. Before you start:
- Take a deep breath and have a plan in place for your message and communication method.
- Know what you are going to communicate before you begin.
- Most importantly, find out how the individual journalist likes to be contacted and their preferred times of communication.
Being prepared and respecting the preferences of the journalist will allow your message to be well received.
Present Your Story as News, Not an Advertisement
Journalists are not advertisers; they report news and events that are important to their audience. As you write your pitch:
- Think of angles for your pitch that add a human element to your message.
- Customize your pitch to the specific outlet and journalist. Keep it brief and focus on what’s in it for the publication you’re approaching.
- Think of things that might interest their readers or viewers regarding your brand, or relate it back to something that is currently in the news.
- Most importantly, include your contact information (name, email, phone number and website URL) in case they would like more information.
Remember, working with media professionals requires a special touch. Mastering these lessons pays off with positive media coverage for your business and a professional relationship that will continue to bring value to you and your company.
6 Steps for Media Pitching Success
Now that you know the media pitching basics, it is time to dive into crafting your finely-tuned pitch with these 6 steps.
- The subject line.This is probably one of the most important pitch writing tips I can give you. When media pitching, the subject line is one of the most critical parts! If it doesn’t grab their attention right away, chances are the pitch you spent time and energy carefully crafting will end up in the trash folder. Think of your own inbox; what grabs your attention when scrolling through your emails? As you consider your messages, start compiling a list of possible subject lines and choose the one that is the most compelling and relevant to your story idea.
- What’s the hook? The reporter opened your email – fantastic! You made it past the initial screening, but that’s not enough for the journalist to act on your story. You need to hook them in the first sentence or two. What makes your story so unique and interesting? Is there a dramatic fact or statistic related to your industry that your brand can deliver on? Use this to grab the journalist’s attention and keep them reading.
- Why should they care? Does your pitch clearly state why the publication’s readers should care? Remember, no matter how great they think your product or service is, if it doesn’t relate back to their audience, they can’t tell them all about it.
- Keep it short and sweet.Journalists are extremely busy, so keep your pitch brief and to the point. If it doesn’t fit on one page, it’s too long. You don’t need to give all the details at once; instead, provide just enough so they know what sets you apart and why they should care. Don’t forget to offer more information or provide samples if they’re interested.
- Make it look good.When you look at your pitch, is it a wall of text? If it is, break up the details and reformat it so it’s easy to read; add bullet points or numbered lists if possible. Also, is the font a consistent size and color? In addition to the pitch being short and sweet, you want it to be easy to skim and professional-looking.
- Don’t forget to proofread. Forgetting this final media pitching step can have a drastic effect on your results. A silly mistake can land your pitch in the trash can, costing you any potential media coverage from the reporter. Typos and grammatical errors make your pitch look sloppy, rushed and like you don’t care.
4 Media Pitching Mistakes to Avoid
Now that you drafted your pitch, go over it one more time to make sure it avoids these common mistakes that get messages sent to the trash without another look.
- Not checking the audience. There is nothing more painful for a reporter to read than a pitch that has nothing to do with their outlet or their area of coverage. Worse, it can make you look unprofessional and ruin future opportunities that actually fit with their audience.
- The pitch is all about you. Do you provide any benefits for the reporter and their audience or is the pitch all about your business? Offer an incentive that provides value to the journalist and their audience. The best way to do this is by giving them a story idea their readers would appreciate.
- There’s no compelling angle. The pitch should encourage a specific idea that the reporter can expand on. The hook and reason why the reporter should take interest in your brand should all lead to a story they can use.
- There are too many angles. Just as bad as not including any specific angle, is including more than one. Multiple story ideas distract the reporter from your intended message and is an easy mistake to avoid. Read through your pitch one last time and make sure there is only one angle incorporated into the message.
With these writing tips, basic media lessons, the steps to writing a stellar media pitch and what to avoid, you’re sure to get a glowing media review for your business. Do you have any other pieces of advice or media pitching success stories you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!
And, before you leave, check out these other stellar public relations articles from the Three Girls team!
- Media Communication: 3 Tips for Working with Reporters
- How to Get Coverage in Media Outlets Like Better Homes & Ellen
- Budgeting for Public Relations & Marketing: How Much to Spend
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