Perfecting Your Pitch: How to Leverage the Media to Advance Your Brand
You have a story to tell. Everyone does. The real question to ask yourself is whether or not your story will be heard. While anyone can start a blog and put their content out there, building a substantive audience is time consuming and can take years to accomplish. The real opportunity to push your content into the mainstream is through more traditional channels, such as the news media or online publications. That said, while utilizing these outlets to push your story to the masses is undoubtedly beneficial, pitching your content or story idea to them may be tricky.
Mashable’s Jason Abbruzzese had this to say about what type of pitches typically catch his attention,
“Two things stand out. The PR people who have taken a bit of time to get to know me, my beat, what I’m interested in and the types of sources I’m looking for always have my ear. Their emails are usually succinct because they know what information they need to convey to me. The other thing is bullet points. If you have a ton of info, just lay out out simply. Sadly, I’m trying to read your email as fast as possible and am just not interested in any narrative.”
According to a recent report from Business Wire, today’s journalists often find themselves short on time. The report, which examined the current media landscape, outlined both the best practices for dealing with individual journalists and ways to better meet the media’s needs.
Among the report’s key findings, surveyed journalists indicated the following:
- Tuesday morning is the best time to pitch media.
- Thursday evening is the worst time to pitch media.
- The top three social platforms are: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- YouTube usage experienced its largest increase ever in 2016.
- Video interviews are the most desired content type.
- 45 percent of journalists care about the social reach of a source.
- Mornings are generally the best time of day for pitching story ideas.
With those survey results in mind, Cheryl Conner, a contributor at Forbes, detailed some of her favorite strategies for pitching the press:
Do your homework. Take a moment to really think about who you’re pitching to. Is your proposed piece of content or story idea really a good fit for this particular journalist? If not, pitching to them may be a big waste of both your time and effort. Instead, try researching some of their prior articles. If they frequently cover topic and stories that are directly relevant to your proposed content, you’ll likely have a much easier time in grabbing their attention and making your pitch to them successful.
Refine your pitch. Remember, you’re pitching a story idea, not yourself or your company. Your pitch should focus almost exclusively on your story idea’s subject matter and why it’s relevant to the writer you’re sending it to. In terms of actually sending your proposed story idea, doing so via email is often best method. Always try to strike a more respectful tone in your pitch message. Strong or overly aggressive language will likely result in a non-reply. Respect their time by getting by getting straight to the point and respecting the their right to say yes or no.
By utilizing these tips and tactics, your ability to successfully pitch your content to journalists and garner media coverage should be on par with the best in the business.
Good luck pitching!