I recently attended a PRSA Phoenix media brunch with the Phoenix Business Journal editorial team and I learned some insightful pitching tips. To say that every journalist is different is an understatement. Each person has specific preferences for how they like to be pitched and staying in those lanes may increase your chances of getting a response.
Here are five tips I took away from the session:
Subject lines are key. If you can’t gain the reporters attention in a matter of a few words, chances are slim they will open the email for more. Be sure your subject lines are direct and informational. Read it out loud to a colleague and get their input.
The first three lines matter most. Get to the point in three sentences or less, otherwise put down the phone or close your email. Reporters don’t have the time to read through lengthy paragraphs to get to the bottom of your story idea. Gauge their interest with a brief pitch, and then send all of the details once they are hooked.
Name recognition will get you far. Have you previously met the reporter at a PRSA function or ran into them at a client event? Placing how you met and where in your pitch may encourage the reporter to respond. People are far less likely to ignore someone they have already met in person.
Copying multiple reporters is a no-no. Do your research and find the right reporter for that specific story. It means something to them if they know you took the time to read previous articles. Next time you find yourself thinking about copying three other reporters incase the first doesn’t respond, don’t do it.
Diversity, diversity, diversity. The media is constantly looking for something new and intriguing. Step out of your comfort zone and find some key differentiators for your story. Maybe your CEO was born in Russia or your client is fluent in French, Spanish and Mandarin. Find the unique tidbits that set your pitch apart and use it to your advantage when it comes to pitching.
The moral of this story, be authentic. And, brevity is like gold. If you don’t know where to get started, perhaps the tools below will help.
Agility – Laser focus your pitch and approach the appropriate media contacts.
PRSA – Find a chapter in your area and start networking, and receive these types of tips all the time.
CoSchedule – Great tool to help you write the best headlines possible.
Got a tip or a tool? Leave it below for all to read.