By Jessica Epperly
Crafting a strong PR pitch is key to getting the attention of a journalist and ultimately landing a story. By following a few simple guidelines, you can ensure your outreach to media is successful.
First, you’ll want to create a strong and relevant media list. Think ahead about who would want to cover your story and what outlets would be appropriate. Quite often, a quick Google search for similar topics can provide information on key bloggers and traditional media outlets who cover a certain topic or area of interest.
Most journalists accept pitches only by email, which means you have to be especially artful in appealing to their interests. Do your homework ahead of time and know who you are pitching to before you click send, as you will often only have one chance to spark their interest before they hit delete. Also, research editorial deadlines. Pitching after the journalist’s deadline is a waste of time, and will likely annoy the writer.
Think about the story you are telling. Determine your story angle and keep it consistent. Remember, to simplify is also to clarify!
Consider your manner of approach. You can use a traditional press release, but often times a direct pitch letter to a specific journalist works best. A pitch letter is written with a particular journalist in mind and can be personalized to make it more persuasive. Because most journalists have to comb through a constant flow of press releases and story pitches, keep your pitch short and sweet. A few paragraphs stuffed with valuable information, and even the use of bullet points, can relay your massage clearly and quickly. If you can’t get the basic idea across in less than 300 words you more than likely don’t understand what you’re trying to pitch. Keep in mind a journalist can always ask for more information. This also keeps a pitch from droning on.
Also, stay away from using a cookie cutter approach, which can be avoided by using a pitch letter instead of a blanket press release. Possibly most important of all, make your pitch newsworthy. By adding a news factor, it will engender a time-sensitive response and add relevancy to your story.