When pitching a story to a journalist it always pays to have your ducks in a row! Are they on a deadline? Am I speaking to the right person? Is the spokesperson for my story available? Do I have a photo to accompany it? Media relations is a competitive environment with plenty of organisations trying to gain to attract the journalist’s attention, so what else can you do to keep your story at top of the pile? And, how do you take a story from a press release to quality coverage that puts a smile on your clients’ face?
It’s important to remember that journalists receive hundreds of pitches from PROs, so it’s important to try and to stand out from the crowd. Here are our top tips to gaining those headlines:
- Get to the point: Journalists don’t have time to read lengthy press releases, make sure that the pitch itself gets straight to the point in the first sentence ideally within the opening ten words.
- Read on?: Your headline and email subject are the first things that a journalist will see. This means it should be intriguing, interesting, original and attention grabbing. Just think about whether it would make you want to open it and read on.
- Make it personal: Don’t just send out a generic email pitch to all your target publications. By tailoring an email or phoning up you can give your media pitch a stronger edge that meets the needs of a publication more effectively. It shows the journalist that you’ve done your homework too, which can boost the chances of them listening to what you have to say.
As a busy B2B PR agency, we’re always pitching out a story to the media and the above tips are tried and test. However, pitches don’t always hit the mark, and if they don’t it’s important to re-evaluate and amend your pitch to see if it can be improved. It never hurts to revisit a journalist with an updated or amended idea, hook for your story, and who knows, next time it might just hit the mark.
Kat Wilding is a regular contributor to the Skout blog