One of, if not the most important components of public relations is pitching. A media pitch is the letter, usually in the form of an email, to an editor or journalist outlining a story or piece of news that you think they will be interested in covering. Pitching your news or story to the media takes a lot of practice, thought, and attention to detail. Identified below are the four basic steps public relations professionals should follow when pitching the media.
Research is a very important part of pitching the media and probably to most time consuming. It is important to not only research and identify the publications that your news or story could be a fit for but also the specific person you would like to send your pitch to. Read the latest articles that this person has written and look up their social media profiles to see what they are interested in. It is always good to have an idea of who the person is with the ultimate goal of developing a relationship with them.
Draft. The actual pitch copy should not be longer than two to three short paragraphs. Always start with a hook sentence, this is where you can incorporate a personal fact or comment about an article you read or something interesting you learned in your research. The remainder of the pitch should be direct and to the point, with the main facts first. You do not want to tell the whole story but make sure to identify to the editor or journalist why your news or story is a fit for their publication. The last and a very important part of drafting your pitch is developing the subject line. The subject line is the initial hook that will hopefully entice the recipient to open and read your pitch. Don’t be longwinded with your subject line, be direct and concise.
Send. Finally sending the pitch sounds like the easy part but there are three important factors to think about before hitting the send icon: reviewing, formatting, and timing. Make sure to have coworkers or peers review your pitch for any grammatical errors, attachment issues, or links that aren’t working. Format your pitch so that the email is clean and the content flows easily for readers. Plan to send your pitch at a time where you think the recipient will be available to read it. This means not sending on the weekend, after business hours, or early on a Monday.
Follow Up. Simply following the steps to media pitching does not guarantee that you will receive a reply. When you do not hear anything back from the editor or journalist you sent the pitch to it is best to follow up after two to three days, depending on the timeliness of your news or story. Editors and journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day but there is always a chance the recipient did not receive your pitch, accidently deleted it, or simply forgot to go back to it. It is best to send a short follow up email simply letting the editor or journalist know that you want to make sure they received your email.
Media pitching involves a lot of patience and can often seem like a lot of wasted time when you do not hear back. When you do have a pitch that gets picked up and you are able to see your hard work published, you will see that the reward is worth the effort.