As a former journalist I have been on the receiving end of countless pitches. Like most journalists, I was pretty quick to hit “delete” when something lackluster hit my inbox. The art of successful pitching is not luck, it is a science. It takes skill and the ability to find the balance between giving a journalist an angle of substance and ensuring an impactful placement for a client.
Journalists are always looking for unique and interesting news hooks. They don’t want something their competitor covered last week and they certainly don’t want to see the same pitch in their inbox over and over again. When devising a pitch, think outside the box. There is always a unique angle to be found. Just like journalists bounce ideas off each other in the newsroom, bouncing ideas around with colleagues is always a good place to start.
Keep it brief
A journalist has 35 words or less to capture the attention of their readers with their lede and your pitch should reflect this brevity. Sure, you can give a little bit of background information to substantiate your pitch, but if you find yourself going on and on to make your point, rethink your angle. It’s not going to work.
Do your homework
Journalists want to be kept up-to-date on news at it pertains to their beat only. Someone on the police beat will not be receptive to an exclusive story on a new product or hotel launch or announcement of a real estate development. While it could be a really great angle, it will fall on deaf ears as their ears will be glued to the police scanner! Keeping track of who covers what it simply a matter of looking at the publication or website. The tricky thing is, reporters move between beats often so make sure you are always aware of who is on what beat.
A unique, brief pitch to the appropriate journalist is a recipe for pitching success. (14 words, see what I did there?)