Pitching to journalists to get PR coverage can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can increase your chances of success. There is no perfect approach or methodology which will work for all journalists, as after all, pitching to journalists is an art, not a science. Here are some general tips and practices to consider.
Before pitching to journalists, research the publications and journalists who cover the industry or topic. Look for journalists who have covered similar stories in the past, and make note of their interests, writing style, and preferred contact methods.
Personalise your pitch
Once you have identified journalists who might be interested in your story, personalise your pitch to each one. Use their name, reference their previous work, and explain why you think their audience would be interested in your story.
Keep it concise
Journalists are no exception to the fast-paced world we live in. They are busy and receive a lot of pitches, so keep your pitch short and to the point. Using bullet points, subheadings, and bolding key info to break up your pitch can be a good way to make it easier to read, stand out and digest.
Highlight the value of your story/product
Journalists are always looking for stories that are timely, new, unique, and relevant to their audience. Highlight the value of the story in your pitch and explain why it matters. You want to leave the journalist intrigued and interested.
Provide supporting materials
If you have any supporting materials such as imagery, videos, data, spokespeople or hyperlinks, include them in your pitch. This can help journalists visualise your story and make it more compelling.
If you don’t hear back from a journalist after your initial pitch, follow up with a polite email or phone call. Be persistent but respectful, and don’t be afraid to suggest alternative angles if the journalist isn’t interested in your initial pitch.
Build your network
Use every new story as an opportunity to broaden your network of contacts. Having a bible of solid contacts will help you understand which journalists will be interested in your story and keep track of receptive contacts to aid in building a trusting relationship with them. Arranging in-person meets or virtual meetings to discuss upcoming stories and hear about what journalists are working on is a good way to help the relationship grow. Building relationships with journalists takes time, but it will pay off in the long run.
Practice makes perfect and be malleable in your methods to get it right. Keep refining your approach based on feedback and results, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t get coverage right away.