Media relations is an integral part of public relations which makes media pitching a fundamental skill in a public relations practitioner’s day-to-day life.
Pitching story ideas and angles to media in order to position your organisation and organisation leaders in front of target audiences and build brand awareness, is key. For public relations professionals to secure media coverage for their brand, it all starts with a media pitch. A media pitch effectively sells the story or angle to the journalist.
Firstly, media pitches need to be newsworthy, once you have identified the news hook, develop your email pitch to offer the journalist, succinctly, the information of what the angle is and what you can provide them with, to execute a great story for their readers.
P4 Group is an integrated PR, communications and marketing agency, and as media pitching is a key role of mine here at P4 Group, I have identified five key pitching pillars to help you draft the ultimate media pitch to assist in securing those pieces of coverage for your business.
As there are so many avenues for news, it is crucial you do your research and pitch to the journalists who write about your topic. Do your research and find out what journalists cover the content you have on offer, how the journalist writes so you can tailor the angle to fit their style, the target readership, how their content is structured, how many images are usually used throughout their pieces etc. Doing your research allows you to effectively tailor your pitch to suit the journalist’s needs, therefore increasing the likelihood of them picking it up.
Also, by popping in a quick line such as “I thought this might be of interest as I recently read your article on…” or “I thought this would be a great topic for your ‘x’ section” to show the journalist you have read their work and that your story would be their cup of tea, will increase the likelihood of landing that media coverage for your organisation.
And always address the journalist by name. A journalist will be more inclined to read your pitch if they feel you didn’t just blindly do a blanket send to over thirty journos hoping for a pick up.
Journalists are busy… and very time poor. They receive hundreds of PR pitches every day, you need to make sure your email pitch stands out, and it all starts with your subject line. Definitely don’t use a bunch of symbols or emojis or ALL CAPS to capture their attention, as that may very-well secure your email pitch a one-way ticket to their ‘junk’ folder. Instead, make sure what makes your story newsworthy is front and centre. Capture their attention and entice them to open the body of your email, based on the subject line displaying the ‘news hook’.
You don’t need to take the journalist on a date; however, you are in the field of communications and building really strong working relationships with media is key for public relations practice. Work WITH them, make sure you give them all the newsworthy information they need, be timely with your responses and ensure you have all of your ducks in a row when it comes to talent opportunities. Touch base after you secure that win to thank the journalist for their time and express interest in working with them again.
If a journalist can rely on you for pitching strong newsworthy content and you are attentive to what they need in a timely manner, they will be more inclined to work with you on other opportunities.
Proactive pitching and news-jacking based on relevant breaking news stories; are fundamental ways a PR professional can position their company and personnel as thought leaders within an industry. When creating a top-line PR strategy, PR professionals focus on creating media opportunities and profiling pieces that entirely focus on their organisation, which is the aim of a PR strategy.
However, it is also important to be able to be flexible and timely and jump onto proactive stories that may arise on the day-to-day. This means putting aside the idea that your company needs to be front and centre in every story, and that being included in a larger story or supplying commentary to be included in the discussion, is very much a win.
Note: There are a number of really helpful resources available for PR professionals that keep you up-to-date on the media space such as SourceBottle and Social Diary. These platforms can be used for “call outs” for opportunities that you can put your organisation forward for, key media position changes, key events etc.
Strengthen the story/angle you are pitching by offering high-res imagery, video, or by offering a timely interview and/or photoshoot. Great visuals are a really easy way to capture a reader’s attention, so the more engaging the pic, the better chances you have of the journo running your story. Every story across all mediums will always have an image or video to accompany the copy, so help the journalist out and make sure you have one handy, or can easily facilitate a pic-op.
Now you know the top tips on effective media pitching, however, if you are sitting there thinking “what’s my news hook… what newsworthy stories does my business have to offer?”, be sure to have a read through my colleague Amy’s fantastic blog showing you ‘how to spin a good PR story’.