PR 101: 5 Tips For Crafting The Perfect Press Pitch
Simply put, a press pitch is an attempt to get a journalist, editor, or media outlet so interested in your news that they decide to give it press coverage.
As a PR and business communication agency, we regularly pitch clients’ news to the media. Broadly speaking, you can go two ways: send out a general press release to a large number of publications or pitch an exclusive feature to a particular publication. In our experience, bespoke press pitches have a much higher success ratio than mass press release distributions.
Pitching is a skill that requires creative thinking, persuasive communication skills, and knowing exactly how your story idea benefits the journalist and the audience. Here are our top five tips for a perfect press pitch:
1. Is your story relevant?
What is your lead? Why is your story interesting and newsworthy? No editor wants to publish obvious, recycled, or repetitive material. You have to provide content, which is insightful, fresh, and relevant to the readers of your target media. Amplify your story by providing insights, context, findings, or quotes and tie it all together with a strong angle.
2. Write a concise pitch
Journalists are inundated with pitches every day and consequently only look at those that are relevant, newsworthy, brief, structured, and timely. Keep your pitch under 200 words, send it by personal email – do not call the journalist because they do not have the time – with an intriguing headline and craft the pitch with facts instead of fluff and self-promotion. Proofreading is imperative – a poorly written pitch with grammatical mistakes and typos will go straight into the journalist’s deleted folder.
3. Research and personalise for your target media
Research your target media and its audience in detail. Is your story a good fit for this publication, radio, or TV channel and will it resonate with the media outlet’s audience? It’s not about what’s interesting to you; it’s about what’s interesting to them, so think from the journalist’s perspective. Take note of lead times, press deadlines, and editorial calendars. Personalise your pitch to a specific journalist with an actual interest in your story, your company, industry, or topic. Reading the journalist’s previous articles is highly recommended.
4. Invest in relationships
Media relations are decidedly personal and must be mutually beneficial to be successful. You cannot just contact journalists when you need them. Start building long-term relationships with individual journalists or editors and learn about their area of expertise, interest, writing style, and how they communicate with their audience. In time, you will be able to help each other out with articles, columns, interviews, quotes, features, etc.
5. Is your story ready to publish?
Triple-check your grammar and spelling. Get quotes signed off by relevant parties. Align your words with the publication’s tone of voice. Present your copy with standfirsts, sub-heads, box-outs, and a selection of high-resolution images. Supplying the full package makes the editor’s life easier and increases your chances of getting your story featured. Finally, don’t forget to thank the journalist you worked with and share their story online.
If all of this seems overwhelming to do on your own, feel free to contact us. At In2 Consulting we have over a
decade’s experience with press pitches, public relations, and business communication.
By Cristina Kristensen, Senior Communications Consultant