Top tips for pitching to media
PR can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. When done right, it’s far more persuasive with consumers, who are aware that advertising is paid for. Unlike ads, PR comes with third-party credibility. If it’s coming from a trusted news source, or lifestyle publication that the consumer identifies with, they are far more likely to bite – with some stats saying PR is as much as 90% more effective than advertising (Nielsen, 2014).
However, PR is not without challenges. You can spend weeks building your story, drafting content, researching target media and pitching, only to find the news agenda has been taken over by a royal scandal which bumps your story off the radar.
It’s also never been harder to get cut-through with journalists, who are extremely busy, covering multiple beats and being tasked for their content. And, with PR’s outnumbering journalists eight to one, media have short shrift for PRs that don’t strike the right tone.
With this in mind, we’ve put together our top tips for how to pitch to media.
1. Make it personal
It’s all too tempting to roll out the same pitch email as far and wide as possible and hope something will land. But, this approach just doesn’t work. For journalists to consider your pitch, it needs to be well thought out and crafted directly for them by researching topics they’ve written about before, to show it’s relevant. Bearing in mind the pressure journalists are under to drive engagement, you also really need to be able to show how your pitch meets the interests of their audience too. And at all costs – do not get their name wrong. You’ll be blocked!
2. Check your facts
Make sure your pitch stands up to interrogation – check your facts and have the information ready to back them up. 60% of journalists find inaccurate information inexcusable (Cision, 2022) – and you can understand why. Amidst the rise of fake news, it’s vital they present the facts correctly for their readers to trust them and so by proxy, any PRs they work with need to be trustworthy too, or risk the relationship for good.
3. Make it short and sweet
Journalists are inundated with pitches from PRs every day and will disengage very quickly, so you need to make your key messages land quickly and impactfully. Get to the point, avoid jargon, craft a catchy headline, and remember to make sure the ‘who, what, when, where and why’ of your story is included in the first line – ideally – or the first paragraph if not.
4. Include multimedia
Sending images, videos, infographics or any other multimedia content in your initial pitch saves the journalist the trouble of coming back to you to request these, waiting for your response, or researching additional content themselves – and this time saving might just be the difference between them featuring your story or not.
5. Follow up
Provided you’ve followed point one above, and your pitch really is relevant to the journalist, one polite follow-up to check they’ve received the details is fine. But if you still don’t hear anything, leave it at that until the next time you’ve got a relevant story. No one wants to be pestered – and definitely don’t chase them on socials, or you could be blocked for good.
6. Take care of your leads
If a journalist has come back to you to request more information, an interview, or similar, then hurrah – you’ve got a lead! Now’s your chance to build a great relationship by jumping on the opportunity, checking (and meeting) their deadlines, being clear, open and honest about what further details you can provide and generally offering the best service you can provide. Even if it doesn’t work out, they’ll trust and respect you, and might just come back to you next time they’re working on something relevant.
So, there we have it, our top tips for nailing your pitch to media. PR may be challenging, but once you see your brand in print, you’ll be riding high for days. Follow these top tips and you might just get one step closer to landing the coverage of your dreams.