You want to come across as the savvy public relations professional that you are but it can seem intimidating to think about pitching stories to major media outlets. As a Cincinnati public relations professional I spend a lot of my time doing media relations, a part of that being spent on media pitches. I’ve taken the things that I’ve learned and compiled a list of tips to follow when pitching your story:
1. DON’T MAKE IT ABOUT YOU
We get that your company/client/service is the most amazing/best thing in the world and you’re pitching something that is going to reap benefits for your own company or client, but what is your hook? You need to present this pitch in a way that the reporter can quickly answer the question, “Why would anyone care?”
2. USE SOFT LANGUAGE
I recently read a blog post about the use of “soft language” a term coined by the comedian George Carlin. His example: when did toilet paper become bath tissue? Though toilet paper doesn’t necessarily relate to the work that you do, you can see his point. A reporter doesn’t have time nor want to try and dig through your “soft language” to try and figure out exactly what you’re trying to say. Just say it. Plainly. Clearly. Concisely.
3. PITCH TO THE RIGHT PERSON
No, the editor of The New York Times isn’t going to take the time to pass along your pitch to the correct staff person. Do your research ahead of time and makes sure that the correct person is receiving it. Don’t see someone who covers exactly what you need? Mold your pitch around a specific beat.
4. THE FOLLOW UP CALL
Don’t just call to ask if a reporter received your pitch. Be ready to expand on why you think that this story is valuable and relevant, and be ready to take next steps such as scheduling an interview or photo op.
Hope you find these media relations tips helpful, and I want to hear from you if you’d like to add some of your own.