Pitching Tips from Media Pros
I recently attended a panel discussion, featuring reporters from a prestigious Los Angeles media outlet, discussing best practices when pitching to the media. Major media outlets are constantly being bombarded with emails and phone calls from people who want to get their clients’ stories published. When receiving hundreds of pitches a day, you are bound to develop pet peeves, regular annoyances and a list of definite don’ts.
The panelists shared insight into what to think about before pitching to the media, as well as what to avoid:
- Never pitch a story if the client you are pitching for is unavailable to comment. If the client is about to get on a plane and won’t be available for several hours, wait to distribute the pitch if the news isn’t time sensitive.
- When making follow-up calls, make sure you are knowledgeable about what you are pitching and can answer questions pertaining to the topic.
- This always seems apparent, but more often than not, is surprisingly overlooked: don’t send pitches that are poorly written and have grammatical errors. It will reflect poorly on you and dismiss your company as a reputable source of information.
The panelists also let us in on a secret that they don’t often like to admit:
- When the media is invited to an event, they will sometimes go just to find story ideas, not necessarily to cover the event. Being aware of this will help to manage media coverage expectations post-event.
As public relations and marketing professionals, it’s important to value our relationships with the media. Taking a few moments to ask yourself if you are making any of the above mistakes, and being well informed about how the media works, can positively affect your pitching efforts and, in return, garner greater results for clients.
-By Berbay Assistant Account Manager Summer Vernon