A media pitch is when a company or an agency tries to get a media outlet or a journalist interested enough in a particular story that they decide to cover it. These days, most of the time, the pitch is done via email, however, it’s still possible to do it via phone or social media platforms.
Research has shown that many journalists receive dozens of pitches every single day, which means writing an effective pitch is key to getting media coverage.
The first step in that process is to make sure that the story is actually newsworthy. That means finding out if the story is presented on the news in an exciting manner, whether people are going to be interested in it or not. If the answer is no, it’s best to wait a while before a newsworthy story actually comes along – otherwise the company risks making a negative first impression with the journalist.
To figure out if a story is newsworthy, it should be timely and new, or relate to current events; it should also relate to the media outlet that’s being pitched; it should evoke an emotional response and should have an impact on a number of people.
The next step is to only pitch to relevant media outlets and journalists – they are the only ones that are going to be interested in the story in the first place. A finance media outlet isn’t going to be interested in hearing about the latest designer sneakers – unless they make a big impact on the market.
When sending out pitch emails, it’s best to create personalized ones for the media outlet or the journalists. The worst thing would be to send out bulk emails to everyone on a contact list. That’s because, with mass emails, journalists are going to be put off by the email from the very beginning, as it’s going to be apparent that the company never did any research to see whether the topic is relevant to the journalist.
Different journalists specialize in different topics, and sending out an email about a new drone to a journalist that only covers new cell phones isn’t going to work. To make things worse, sending out a mass email to every journalist means that the company doesn’t take the journalists’ jobs, or media coverage in general, too seriously.
Keep in Mind
After sending out a pitch email, there’s still a chance that there won’t be any replies. However, it’s important to note that journalists are busy people, and as previously mentioned, they can get a dozen or more pitches per day in their inbox, which means it takes a while to get through all of them.
If several days have already passed, and there is no response, then it’s polite to follow up on the first email. In fact, as a general rule, it’s polite to follow up three times in a row, if there is no success, with some time between each email. When following up, it’s important to be polite, prepared, and concise, and take rejection in stride.