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Pitching to Journalists: A Guide to Do's and Don'ts

In today's digital age, getting media coverage can make or break a company's success. But with so many businesses vying for attention, it can be challenging to grab the attention of journalists and get them interested in your story. That's where a well-crafted pitch comes in. A successful pitch can get your company featured in publications, increase brand awareness, and establish your business as a thought leader in your industry. However, pitching to journalists is an art, and there are several best practices to follow and common pitfalls to avoid. In this blog post, we'll explore the dos and don'ts of pitching to journalists, so you can create a compelling pitch that catches the eye of reporters and secures media coverage for your company.

Research the journalist and their publication before reaching out to them

Familiarize yourself with the journalist's previous work, the topics they cover, their writing style, and their audience. This will enable you to tailor your pitch to their specific interests, increasing the likelihood of your pitch being accepted. Additionally, understanding the publication's audience, tone, and style will enable you to adapt your pitch to match its style and tone.

For example, if you have a food-related brand and a journalist specializing in food is currently working on an article titled "10 Must-Try Food Items This Summer," you could pitch your brand by highlighting the unique cuisine, taste and any special summer promotions that may appeal to the journalist's audience. By tailoring your pitch to the journalist and their audience, you increase the chances of your brand being featured in the article.

Keep your pitch concise, compelling and personalized

Journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day, and they do not have the time to read lengthy emails. Therefore, keep your pitch short and to the point. Start with a catchy subject line that summarizes your pitch and captures the journalist's attention. In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and explain why your story is relevant and newsworthy. Use statistics, quotes, or anecdotes to support your pitch and make it compelling. Also, make sure your pitch is personalized and specific to the journalist and publication. Personalized pitches demonstrate that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in working with the journalist.

Let's say a startup founder aiming to present his new app to a tech journalist could begin by providing a brief introduction of himself and his company, followed by a discussion of the issue that his app resolves and how it sets itself apart from other similar applications. The founder could also highlight some noteworthy user metrics or success stories to showcase the app's significance. Lastly, the founder may conclude the pitch by making a clear request for a follow-up discussion.

Follow up, but don't be pushy

Journalists are busy people, and they may not respond to your pitch immediately. Therefore, it's essential to follow up with a polite email or phone call. However, make sure you give the journalist enough time to read and consider your pitch before following up. When following up, be polite and respectful, and avoid being pushy or aggressive. Instead, remind the journalist about your pitch and ask if they need any additional information or clarification.

Usually, it is recommended to wait for a week or two after sending a pitch to a journalist before sending a courteous follow-up email. In this email, you could refer to your original pitch and inquire whether the journalist requires any additional information or has any questions. Additionally, you may suggest scheduling a meeting or call to discuss things further.

Don't send irrelevant pitches and avoid making unrealistic claims

To ensure your pitch is effective, it's crucial to keep it relevant to the journalist's beat and the publication's audience. Sending a pitch that is not related to the journalist's area of coverage is a waste of time and effort. Additionally, avoid making unrealistic claims as journalists are trained to be skeptical and will fact-check your pitch. To build credibility, it's best to be honest, transparent, and accurate in your pitch.

For example, a fashion brand attempting to promote its latest summer collection to a journalist who specializes in healthcare news would be an instance of an irrelevant pitch. As the journalist is less likely to be interested in writing about fashion, this pitch is unlikely to lead to media coverage.

Don't forget to be polite, respectful, and professional

Journalists are people too, and building a good relationship with them can lead to long-term benefits for your brand. Don't try to pressure the journalist into covering your story or make unrealistic demands. Remember that journalists are not there to promote your brand or product, but instead looking for stories that are interesting, informative, and relevant to their audience.

Say for example if a journalist declines your pitch or doesn't respond, don't take it personally. Instead, thank them for their time and ask if there's anything else you can do to help them in the future. Building a positive relationship with a journalist takes time, so focus on being helpful and respectful, even if they don't cover your story right away.

In conclusion, pitching to journalists is a valuable strategy for getting your message out to a broader audience. However, it requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. By following the tips outlined above, you can increase the likelihood of your story being covered and build a strong relationship with the journalist. Always remember to respect the journalist's time and interests.

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