In a recent blog post, we shared our top tips on what you should avoid when pitching to journalists. There we talked about the common errors PR professionals or companies can make when pitching to a journalist, and gave some advice on what to avoid to ensure your news is featured by the target publication. Today we wanted to delve even deeper and teach you how to craft the perfect pitch.
In today’s world, securing the PR you desire can be tricky; journalists are busy with endless press releases flooding their inboxes making it hard to stand out from the crowd. We’re going to make your life a little easier by teaching you how to find and connect with the right publication for your business, and how to write the perfect pitch.
Finding the perfect publication for your business!
You’re about to start your PR campaign but you find yourself stuck on the first hurdle; Where do I pitch my news? Well, this is where we can help you! You’re going to need to do your research to find publications, journalists and relevant websites or bloggers to pitch to. To make sure this publication is right for you, you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of your ‘ideal‘ target market and identify the publishers who match your needs. Remember to keep track of these as they can stack up quickly.
The five W’s
A great place to start when creating your perfect pitch is with the five w’s: who, what, where, when and why. Ask yourself; what is it that you want to achieve through this PR push?
When you have set yourself a clear objective, you will find it much easier to identify your target audience and craft the key message you are looking to communicate.
List out the themes or topics and then begin your research on specific publications that cover your key themes – make sure you fit your story around what they would typically write about!
Research, Research, Research!
When you are happy you have identified your target audience, start researching other industry-specific journalists. Familiarise yourself with the stories they cover, keep a note of journalists’ contact details who cover relevant topics and research them before reaching out. Taking some time out to network with these key people will prove key to the success of your campaign.
If you find yourself at a loss at this stage, try looking into what publications your competitors are featured in. Detail these publications along with the specific journalist contact information for that story. This will help you get a feel for the news they feature whilst providing details of target publications.
Keep a detailed and up-to-date media list
Once you are happy you have identified your target publications, you will need to ensure you keep track of them. Keep the key information stored within a document that allows you to update and amend regularly (such as an Excel doc). At Carnsight Communications, we do just this with our media lists.
Within this tracker, the basics are needed such as publication title, journalist contact details and key themes or topics they cover etc. Never be afraid of targeting the bigger titles either. Often, smaller businesses feel they aren’t as interesting as the larger organisations out there, but this is not true. If you have a fresh perspective or a new idea – make sure you do your research and then reach out!
Engage and build on the relationships
OK, so you now have your list of target publications to pitch to (media list). What’s the best way to get in touch?
At Carnsight Communications, we’re all about building relationships with you, our clients and also with journalists. Building and maintaining these key relationships is a huge part of what we do and the results we achieve.
When you have found your target publications and journalists – look them up on social media, follow them and engage regularly. Never underestimate the importance of this. It’s vital to expand your network.
You will often find a link to the reporter’s contact information within their social media bio. This allows you to pitch to them directly or just to introduce yourself. Being present and engaging often will have many benefits.
Start crafting your perfect pitch
Now you have researched and sourced the target publications for your business, and you’ve started networking with these contacts – you’re ready to start crafting the perfect pitch!
Keep in mind the five w’s (who, what, where, when and why)
It’s all in the storytelling. What is the news you’re sharing about? Remember to always keep your target audience in mind.
- Provide all the information that makes the story. By providing all the information, reporters are more likely to feature because they have less work to do.
- Make sure to clearly define your purpose: What problem does your product or service solve? Who is your audience and who has that problem?
- Why you’re the expert in this field? What experience do you have on this specific topic and what sets you apart from others in your field of work?
Present the perfect pitch; professional and concise.
Some other great tips for reaching out to target journalists are:
- Check out where that journalist is most active online (such as Twitter or LinkedIn) and keep a note on your media list.
- Draft out a personalised and detailed pitch. Remember to keep it short and sweet.
- Use a subject line that grabs attention – don’t leave it to chance! Now is the time to be noticed.
- Include a ‘boiler plate’ of your ancillary materials in case these are needed. These include a short company bio, links to the website and social channels alongside a folder of different sized images. Ensure these images are labelled to support the journalist.
- Respond quickly – don’t leave them hanging. If you send out a release, make sure you keep an eye on communications and respond as quickly as you can. Don’t leave the journalist hanging on for days as they will not want to work with you again.
- Get to the point – bullet points are often preferred.
- Be polite and personalised. Remember journalists are people and we all like to be greeted nicely, try to research a little about them as individuals. Do they share details of their personal lives on social media such as likes or interests? If so, tailor your greeting around these details.
Keep it consistent!
Last but by no means least – let’s look at how you’re going to make the above happen!
It may seem difficult to get time in your diary to get pitching but our best advice to you is for you to schedule an hour or so every couple of weeks that is solely dedicated to researching your target publications, cultivating your existing contacts, and staying in regular contact.
Remember to regularly update your media lists and engage often on social platforms. Get involved with those conversations online, add your valuable input and stay fresh in your target audience and journalist’s mind. Be consistent with this and the results will speak for themselves.
We hope you have enjoyed reading through these tips on crafting your perfect pitch. If you need more advice on what a pitch is and how to craft a winning pitch, MuckRack has outlined some great pointers here.
Are you interested in finding out more about why networking is key in PR? Have a read here