Pitching stories to journalists is a critical part of any PR strategy. It’s a way to get your brand, product, or story covered by the media and gain exposure. But as simple as it may seem, it’s a delicate art that requires finesse and understanding of what journalists want. This guide will walk you through how to pitch a story to a journalist successfully.
Understanding the Journalist’s Perspective
Before you can pitch your story effectively, you need to understand how journalists work. Journalists are constantly bombarded with story pitches. On average, a journalist receives over 200 pitches per day. Standing out from this sea of pitches requires a clear, concise, and engaging pitch that delivers value to the journalist and their readers.
Finding the Right Journalist
Not all journalists are interested in the same type of stories. If you’re launching a tech startup, for instance, a tech journalist will be more interested in your story than a lifestyle journalist. Research and compile a list of journalists who cover your industry or topic. Tools like Cision, Muck Rack, or even LinkedIn can be invaluable for this.
Crafting Your Story
Journalists aren’t interested in advertising your product or service; they’re interested in telling a compelling story. To pique their interest, you need to craft a narrative around your pitch. Ask yourself: Why is this story relevant? How will it benefit the journalist’s audience? Is it timely? Does it provide a new angle on an existing topic? Once you can answer these questions, you’re well on your way to crafting a compelling story.
Part 4: Writing the Perfect Pitch Email
The pitch email is your first (and sometimes only) opportunity to grab a journalist’s attention. Here’s how to structure it:
- Subject Line: This should be compelling and to the point, giving a clear indication of what the story is about.
- Introduction: Start with a personalized greeting, then briefly introduce yourself and your purpose for writing.
- The Pitch: Here’s where you tell your story. Keep it concise and engaging, highlighting the story’s value to the journalist’s audience.
- Closing: End with a call to action, such as asking if the journalist is interested in covering the story. Include your contact information for follow-up.
- Attachments/Links: Only add these if necessary, and always mention in the email that you have attached or included a link.
Journalists are busy people. If you don’t get a response immediately, don’t fret. Wait for a week, then send a polite follow-up email. But remember, there’s a fine line between persistent and annoying. If the journalist declines or doesn’t respond after a few follow-ups, it’s best to move on.
Pitching is not a one-and-done deal. It’s about building long-term relationships with journalists. Stay engaged with them, even when you’re not pitching. Comment on their articles, engage with them on social media, and show genuine interest in their work. This will put you in a favorable light when you pitch your next story.
Pitching a story to a journalist can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With a good understanding of what journalists are looking for, a compelling story, a well-crafted email, and a respectful approach to follow-ups, you can increase your chances of getting your story picked up.
Remember, pitching is more than just getting a story published; it’s about building relationships that can provide value to your organization in the long run. So, refine your pitch, build your network, and start sharing your stories with the world.