Do you have an event or story that you would LOVE the media to pick up, but you’re not sure how to get their attention? With so much going on in the news on a day to day basis, it is important that your event or story stands out from the crowd. Here are some key points to getting your newsworthy event written and noticed!
Writing a Pitch:
There are two types of pitches:
- A pitch based solely on a client’s request, product, service, company, etc.
- A pitch in response to a journalist’s beat or current event.
Writing a pitch based on a client or client’s product/service is fairly basic. It’s like writing a news release. You need to include the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when, why & how) and clearly explain why it’s of interest to the media’s audience (readers, viewers, visitors).
Pitching the Story
There are three types of pitching categories: Cold, Warm and Hot.
- Cold – This is where you’ve never spoken to the journalist before and/or you’re not sure they’re the right person to speak with.
- Warm – This is where you know it’s the right journalist for the topic, but you haven’t spoken to them and the story isn’t related to a current event.
- Hot – Lastly, this is where you know the journalist and you have a positive relationship with them or the pitch is based on a topic the journalist recently wrote about, a current event or both.
When pitching a story, keep the recipient’s perspective in mind at ALL times. Is it convenient for them? How are you helping them? Are you giving them everything they need (a quote, access to more information, images, video, etc.)?
Email Pitching a Reporter:
The first paragraph you write is to help build a relationship with the journalist. Show you know the media outlet and the reporter/their beat. This is where tying into a recent article of theirs is appropriate. The second paragraph elaborates on what the story idea is all about. Give just enough info to get them to ask for more. The third paragraph explains and justifies the reason why the story is important and why their readers/viewers will care. The fourth paragraph is your last and should act as a closing with a call to action. This is where you offer value-add like interviews, additional info, etc.
TIP: Always remember to provide your full contact info (name, email, phone, cell phone, etc.)
Pitching is about positively placing a client in the media, but it is also about helping a journalist. Today, with trimmed staff and resources, publications and TV stations are nearly always looking for resources. If you can frame it appropriately and it’s timely, pitching can establish a relationship with the journalist/outlet and make a client happy.
NOTE: Remember to proof (ask someone else to proof it too) MANY times before sending it and consider your timing. Don’t send it first thing, last thing or at lunchtime! Keep it short and simple!
These points are a guide for you to use and reference as you develop your own writing and pitching style. Follow these guidelines as you move forward and get YOUR next story noticed by the media in the most professional, clear manner. Happy pitching!
If you have questions or need a little help getting your next pitch out, you can always contact us for help. 🙂