That means, first of all working out which media you really want to focus on, because pitching is a lot of work. You could easily spend several hours with one journalist, to work out the finer details of the opportunity that works for you both.
You need to be really clear on what your pitch actually is. What is the great news angle? Why should the media care? Why should this specific reporter care? Why would their readers be interested in it?
A media pitch needs to be simple and give something of value to a journalist. It needs to pique their curiosity, so it gets on their radar and they follow the story up. It needs to tell them succinctly what the story is about, what the hook is for their readers, and why they should cover it.
And then it’s time to hit the phones.
Sometimes pitching is about getting a journalist to use the media release. But sometimes a media release isn’t even needed – when you have sometime unique to offer them and especially if it’s an exclusive. If you have a really interesting story or issue, and a great spokesperson who is across all their messaging and willing to make themselves available for interview, you might secure excellent coverage without a media release at all. Just recently we were able to secure 200+ media hits for a client with one pitch phone call and one interview.
Timing is key when pitching, as journalists are always working towards a deadline, and your story can’t be newsworthy forever.
When it comes to who to pitch to, make sure you’re targeting the right people. Look for those who cover the right beat or have written on a similar topic in the recent past. Check their Twitter account and see what’s going on for them today. There’s nothing worse than calling a journalist about a story that’s not relevant to them!
Be across the content you’re pitching as well. Sometimes you’ll get asked who conducted the research, or a specific stat or insight. It’s always best to have this to hand so you’re not caught off guard.
And lastly, make sure what you pitch is interesting and newsworthy. What’s your unique media hook, what outcome do you want from the story, and does it align to your business goals?