Get Ready, Get Set, PITCH! – 4 Tips on Securing Media Placement for Your Client
It is no secret that today’s media landscape encourages more innovative approaches to pitching to the press. Imagine if you were a journalist working the ABC World News segment and you had to rummage through 2,000 email pitches a week—and oftentimes, these numbers are considerably higher! Do you realistically have the bandwidth to read every single email that filtrates through your inbox? Unless you have a personal fairy-assistant to handle your dirty work, the answer is probably no!
For most journalists, it is bothersome having to weed out pitches that a) don’t get to the point quick enough, b) lack supporting data, or, worst of all, c) have absolutely nothing to do with their beat.
In fact, there are nearly a dozen ways to offend reporters. To make a lasting impression, it is best to respect their time (and yours) by keeping it simple and straight to the point. If you want to differentiate your pitch from the rest and secure your client’s story, follow these tips:
1. Do your research
The first step to any successful pitch is to know exactly who you’re emailing (or calling). A reporter who covers finance is more than likely going to reject your blurb about the passing of a healthcare bill and likely will unapologetically trash your email. You must do your homework: find the recipient on Twitter and read something they’ve recently tweeted or discover the topic of their last article and tie that into your email. Showing the reporter that you’ve taken the time to read their content is always a plus.
2. Have a compelling subject line
Sometimes, even the most solid email pitch could be at risk for getting marked as spam or trashed for having a poorly written subject line. Be sure to put just as much thought and effort into the subject line as you would the body of the email to help your pitch scream, “Open me!” To perfect your subject line expertise, try flipping through magazines and newspapers to analyze headlines and word trends; the more you see and read them—and write headlines—the better your subject line writing will be! When in doubt, make sure your subject line coincides with the three C’s: Clear, Concise, and Captivating.
3. Utilize the power of social media to boost your chances
With more digital tools accessible now than ever before, there is no reason why your targeted reporters shouldn’t be on your social media radar. Most successful media relations specialists are cognizant of their targets’ whereabouts, posts, or even Twitter rants to use to their advantage later when generating their pitch. Discovering how to use social media channels to capture the attention of the influencers who matter most to your audience is key. For instance, a reporter who has a tendency to tweet about their current subject of interest might drop a few hints that’ll help you to tie your client into their next story.
4. Newsjacking is the new wave, ride it
Whether it be a social trend, a hot news story, or a seasonal holiday fad that has everyone talking, find a way to insert your client into the conversation. Newsjacking, a term popularized by David Meerman Scott, describes “the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.” Although this tactic alone can generate dozens of hits without the need for traditional media outlets to relay your message, it is often click-bait for journalists looking for their next groundbreaking story.
Mastering these tips will take practice; however, the more time you spend perfecting your pitch the better your chances are of securing placement for your client and, ultimately, cultivating a great rapport with journalists.