After spending hours working on a campaign to pitch to the media, you notice your emails aren’t getting any replies and you’re starting to wonder why?
Olivia King, discusses 5 do and don’ts when pitching to the media:
1. Spell check
There is nothing worse than sending an email and shortly after realising the journalists name was Katherine instead of Catherine. Emails with spelling or grammatical errors are going to be rejected immediately as you clearly haven’t taken the time to do spell check or the research on who you are pitching to.
• Spell check
• Read over your work numerous times
• Print out your campaign and read the hard copy
• Ask a colleague to read over your campaign and email
2. They don’t have time
People in the public relations industry know that a journalist’s inbox constantly has 1000 unread emails with pitch after pitch after pitch. And, sure enough sometimes your email catches a journalist on a deadline.
• Write a subject line that stands out
• Get straight to the point
• Structure your pitch around the five W’s – who, what, when, where and why.
• Give the journalists the details ahead of time but outline when they can publish the story
3. Personalise your email and pitch
If you are pitching to numerous journalists, it doesn’t mean you can send a bulk email. Work your pitch and email to the relationships you have established with the media and make those journalists your priority.
• Take the time to send your emails individually
• Do your research on the journalist you are emailing. What article did they recently write? Have they been away?
• Don’t send your campaign to every single journalist. Target the single most relevant journalists.
4. Offer an exclusive
Journalists don’t want to know that they aren’t getting the scoop. They don’t want to know that the journalist over at another media outlet ran the story in today’s paper.
• Target the relevant journalists and make sure there is a fit
• Offer a true exclusive
• If your pitch isn’t picked up first go, try again, and if it isn’t going to be run, stop there
5. Pitch a story, not the company
Make your story newsworthy; the journalists don’t want to hear about every little thing happening in your company, they only want to hear about the important and relevant stories. This means preparing your pitch and ensuring that you have included all the facts and significant information.
• Think and imagine what your story looks like in a journalist hands
• Research the topic/ client
• Only include relevant and important information
• Ask yourself: is your story newsworthy?