6 simple and effective tips for pitching the media

A rash of terrible pitches inspired this PR professional to remind his colleagues of the basics of winning coverage without annoying a reporter.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A pit bull, a piranha, a weasel, and a skunk walk into a bar. The piranha leans over to the pit bull and asks: “So, how long have you been in PR”?

As a blogger and a former PR agency CEO, I appreciate the challenges of media pitching and blogger relations. But if any of my former staff ever pitched me like several recent “pros,” they’d be out the door—fast.

These PR pros fall into one of several stereotypes. The pitbulls won’t let go, refusing to take no for an answer. The piranhas won’t let you get in a word edgewise until you get angry and hang up. The weasels use every excuse in the book to try to convince you to cover their story or blog about their client, including pressure from the boss or client. And the skunks? Their pitches are redolent. You can smell them a mile away.

I guarantee, the social media pitches are no better either.

In light of this harsh assessment, here are six media and blogging pitch tips to remember:

1. Do your research. Read at least six to eight of the reporter’s or blogger’s recent articles/posts. Do they cover your product or industry?

2. Make sure it’s news. There’s a reason they call it “news” media. Make sure you’re not talking to yourself or “marketing.” Think benefits to their readers or audience.

3. Focus on content. Make your pitch short, concise, active and pitch-worthy. These days a pitch by email or Twitter is best, although some don’t mind a call if you have a rapport or track record with them.

4. Develop angles. Find and develop three or four story angles that you can pitch comfortably for a variety of situations.

5. Be mindful of deadlines. Respect deadlines and the time pressures of reporters and editors; if you are tailgating on developing news stories or trends, be there first.

6. Offer exclusives. A major news outlet expects at least a unique angle, if not exclusivity. Be smart. Manage your story and your relationships.

Got a bad pitch story to share? Love to hear your story in the comments below.

Jeff Domansky, APR, is a PR and social PR strategist and CEO of Peak Communications. He is author of “PRoactive: The Public Relations Job Hunter’s Guide,” and he blogs at The PR Coach. You can also follow him on Twitter @theprcoach or Scoop.it (PR 2.0 Insight).


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