Tips on a great Media Pitch
A great PR campaign includes a killer media pitch that make a story newsworthy. A media pitch is a short written or verbal piece that you use to entice the media to feature you positively in a story. It’s not rocket science, but it is an art. It makes all the difference between getting media coverage and not.
Not sure what goes into a great media pitch? Here’s the skinny:
Target the right media with the right pitch
Imagine if day in, day out, you picked up the phone or checked your email only to get a constant barrage of messages relating to subjects that had nothing to do with you. Welcome to the world of journalism, where people try and pitch you stories with winning opening lines like: “I don’t read your paper but I have this great product that you should tell your readers about.”
A great media pitch reflects the audience that reads, watches or listens to the media outlet and the journalist it is tailored for. A winning media pitch has been tweaked or even crafted with the end audience in mind. If it’s going to a specific journalist, it references what they’ve had to say on the subject and how or why your angle furthers the conversation or adds a dimension of value to his or her readers.
A strong media pitch adds additional insight or solves a problem that the journalist you are targeting has put on the public agenda. It may also introduce something that will be of concern to their audience. Your best shot at getting coverage is to help the journalist by giving them a new angle, or way of looking at a story or topic that matters to them and to their audience. If you do, you will have a much better chance of securing their interest.
Keep it short and don’t bury the lede
You have only a few words before the journalist reading or hearing your pitch decides if they want more or it’s game over. At the top outlets, like The View, if you haven’t grabbed them within about 10 seconds, the call is done. A good pitch starts with the most interesting element first and immediately delivers the “what’s in it for the audience” moment. A rambling pitch that packs a great punch at the end probably won’t get seen or heard in its entirety.
Make it newsworthy
Because you’ve lived, breathed and eaten your story as you’ve researched it, targeted the right media and created great art and video to go with it, you have to remind yourself as you develop your angles for your pitches (different pitches for different media) that the media is not the PR arm of your company. It is not their job to help you sell product or ellicit new donations.
Media need to tell a good story. And a good cause or a good product isn’t in and of itself a good story. A good story offers insight into the human condition, or highlights an injustice, or raises an issue of importance, or helps the audience solve a problem, or in some way fulfills a need specific to their audience. Your angle needs to further the discussion on something topical or draw attention to a new problem and how your product or service is the solution.
Give it legs
Think like a producer or editor. As you flesh out your story and how you’d like the media to tell it, think in 3D. What digital assets do you have or can you create (art/pictures, video/B-roll, podcasts) that you can give them or suggest that will give the story added punch? Don’t just think about your story in one medium. Think about it through out all media channels possible, and get your, um, storytelling assets in gear.
Don’t Take Rejection Personally
No matter how much planning or work you’ve done, your story may just not be a fit for a journalist or an outlet you were SURE would cover it but didn’t. It happens. Move on. Thank them for their time, be friendly and warm, and work just as hard or harder to get their interest with a new product or angle next time. Don’t let your disappointment say or do anything that will cost you a shot at that next time.
It takes a lot of work to land a great feature, but it’s worth it in the end. A good pitch is deceptively short but carries with it all kinds of additional resources ready to be pulled out on a moment’s notice and is the culmination of a tremendous amount of research. But once you’ve delvered a story that engages an outlet’s audience, you will be on the A-list, and the outlet will be more inclined to welcome pitches from you.