Pitching is an appetizer not a buffet.

Have you ever received an email that if printed out it would be two pages long? How motivated are you to read each and every word? If you’re like me, you want the meat and potatoes in the very first sentence. Give me what I want up front. Now imagine you are an editor from a top national newspaper and receive thousands of email pitches daily from PR professionals. If each one of those emails is 1-3 pages long, do you think the editor is going to read it? Probably not.

When pitching the media, it needs to be an appetizer not a buffet. Just enough to get the editor/reporter/producer interested and to see why the information is relevant to them (Key word: relevant).

The following is a guideline to a strategic pitch:

1. PRE-PITCH: Simply put – be prepared!

  • Know who you are pitching. Google the name of the editor to find out what they have written about in the past and their specific writing style/tone.
  • Start a relationship with the editor before a story is on the line. Reach out to them and position yourself and your clients as a resource for future articles.

2. PITCH: Short, concise and to the point.

  • Open the pitch with a hook that is newsworthy. Provide information on why it is relevant to the editor’s story and why it is important to their readers.
  • Support the opening with facts. 70% of the information you send to a reporter should be industry stats that are relevant to the reporters beat. i.e. links to case studies, industry research outside of the category, supporting statistics, etc.
  • End with a call to action. Let the reporter know that you will be following up in a few days and avoid leaving it open-ended.

1. POST-PITCH: Follow-through but don’t be a stalker.

  • Under no circumstances start your follow-up call with “Hi, my name is Jane and I’m following up to make sure you received the product information I sent to you last week.” This is a major pet peeve with media professionals and you’ll probably hear a ring tone with this approach.
  • It is important to provide value every step of the way. Call with new information. For example, you can find a new fact or withhold a relevant fact from the original pitch and use this to start the conversation.

It is that simple but it takes time, thought and strategy to craft a perfect pitch. Bottom line, make it short and sweet and be sure your pitch is newsworthy, relevant and provides value.

Happy Pitching!

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