5 Ways You Can Improve Your Media Pitch Right Now

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PR professionals know that pitching the media can be an arduous and sometimes mysterious task. Will an editor read your pitch, or will it go directly into the circular file cabinet? While every agency and account manager has a different strategy, there are some who seem to just do it better. One of those people is pitching coach, Michael Smart. We recently joined him for a webinar where he shared some tried-and-true pitching strategy. Here are five takeaways from that session, with a little Merlot Marketing agency spin.

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1. Follow the 80/20 principle. The 80/20 principle is an excellent blueprint for time management. Spend 80% of your time on the top 20% of your target media list. After all, 80% of results come from this 20% effort. Focus on absolutely crucial influencers and target three individual journalists at each outlet.

2. Get social. Social media is a great tool to use prior to pitching. It helps with research and it’s an easy and organic way for you to introduce yourself and your agency to top media contacts. Editors hate being pitched by unknown entities, so begin engaging with them on Twitter or Instagram for at least a month prior to pitching them. That way, when they see your email in their inboxes, they’ll recognize your name and know you’re legitimate.

3. Be relevant. When your pitch is ready to send, be sure that you have created compelling content. Consider what is big news at the moment and rethink your pitch so that it is more relevant to what’s trending.  Sending out the same content over and over again will just help your pitch end up in the bin.

 4. Customize the pitch. The most important step in getting your pitch noticed is to customize it.  Research the editor and the publication.  Reference specific stories, columns or upcoming issues that would be perfect for featuring your client. Be sincere, not generic. Journalists and reporters appreciate that you took the time to do your homework, because it shows that you are confident that whatever it is you are pitching would be a good fit.

 5. Be brief. Members of the media get hundreds, if not thousands, of pitches each day. You need to get to the point as quickly as possible. At Merlot Marketing, we are big fans of the bulleted list. Never send attached images or supporting documents to your initial pitch; this is a flag to media filters and almost always directs your message to spam folders. If the editor or reporter is interested, they will write back and request additional information.

Remember, PR is as much about timing as it is about research. Even if the timing is not right when you send your first pitch, it may be a good fit later. By proving that you are a professional with each pitch you send, you are more likely to be contacted for future issues.

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