news reporter

Back to basics: Four tips for pitching media

For some reason, the number one task that many PR people seem to loathe is pitching media.

Here are four easy tips to ease the process.

1. Tell it like it is and tell them what they want to hear.

Establish your message track and your story thread in easy-to-digest terms. You don’t need to fancy it up or “spin” it in any way. A conversational tone is best for journalists – and their readers/viewers. Keep in mind that you have your agenda and what messages you would like to get across, but the media have an agenda and a mission to create content suitable for their readers. For the two to meet, you’ve got to consider the media needs and wants and then best position your materials in light of those.

2. Twitter is the new Bacon’s.

Remember Bacon’s? The heavy-duty phone book-style media databases. The company is now Cision and while they have excellent online databases for pitching media, Twitter has become a great great place to start a dialogue and gain insights from media contacts. Even if your company does not use Twitter for its business purposes, the media is using it to find sources and stories. Here are some other great tips for reaching out to media through Twitter.

3. Google it.

It’s so simple. You have to do some research and know the journalist you are targeting. Read or watch recent stories and gain a full understanding of their media outlet. Do not attempt to fly blind here. The number one pet peeve of reporters is being pitched something that is completely irrelevant to them. It ruins the playing field for the rest of us…please don’t do it.

4. Be responsive.

The journalist requests a photo. So send the photo promptly and in the format requested. The journalist has a follow up question. Answer it efficiently. Be a resource. Be a help and not a hindrance. It’s Customer Service 101 and PR people who practice it, typically enjoy lots of success and placements.

These are but a few of the basics that can help you pitch with success. I’d love to hear from you. Do you like pitching media…or do you loathe it? Why?

Share some of your best practices. Share some of your stories. (In easy-to-digest, relevant terms…)

Contributed by Carrie Phillippi

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Comments (2)

  1. I love pitching. My best tip is to remember the journalist is a regular person…ask them about their kids, dogs, favorite sports team. The best king of media relationship you can build is an authentic, interpersonal one. Some of my dearest friends I first met when I pitched them a story.

  2. Natalie,

    Most definitely! Great point. It’s all about building relationships and relationships can’t be self serving – must be a two way street.. I also read my media contacts’ stories on a regular basis and comment accordingly – even if it’s not my client – especially if it’s not my client. I have mad love for my journalist friends!

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