Five top tips for successful story pitching

15 Sep 2020

A PR professional can be hired to achieve a multitude of business goals on behalf of a brand, including building awareness, driving footfall or even creating online engagement. A great way to enhance your client’s visibility and ultimately reach their target stakeholders is by winning impactful media coverage. But you can’t just write a press release and expect journalists to come knocking at your door for more information.

The best chance to grab a journalist’s attention is to package your client’s news in a way that’s captivating and highlights why their readers should be interested. Of course, a press release has its benefits but the most effective way to pitch your story is directly to a journalist.

So how can you successfully pitch to journalists who receive hundreds of pitches every day?

  1. Do your research

Firstly, make sure you’ve researched the publication and the journalist you are targeting. There’s nothing more embarrassing than sending a personalised email or picking up the phone to a journalist that doesn’t even cover the topic or industry your client is in. Look at the publication’s coverage themes and make your pitch relevant to them – they are more likely pick up your story this way!

  1. Personalise and be helpful

Journalists have limited time and will decide whether or not to read your pitch, or even open your email, based on whether your subject line sounds newsworthy. Personalise your email per journalist (address them by name, never Dear ‘Editor’ or Dear ‘Media’) and offer a series of potential headlines. Also provide streamlined graphics and key facts to support your story in one email. However, don’t make this too long as nobody has time for that.

  1. Ask yourself, is what you’re pitching newsworthy?

We have all had those clients that expect you to secure coverage for something that’s not newsworthy. But it’s our job to educate them about what news they should share with the media and what news they shouldn’t. Pitching stories to media outlets that aren’t newsworthy can damage your agency’s reputation and your client’s. Think twice before you press that send button or pick up the phone to pitch.

  1. Be on top of current events

There’s no shame in piggybacking off the latest trends. Imagine an announcement is made that all supermarkets must supply vegan food options and your client has just launched a new vegan meal range? Reach out to journalists who are covering the news, create an interesting angle and highlight why your client should be included in the story.

  1. Build stronger relationships

Don’t just reach out to a journalist when you need something. When you are pitching a story, make sure that you are available to provide further information and maintain a positive relationship with the journalist even after you have secured story placement in their publication. You never know when you’ll need to pitch to them again in the future. If you have a good relationship, it’s easier to secure coverage the next time around.

Have you got a story that you want to share with the media? If so, contact us, we’d love to help.

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Sinclair