January 28, 2022
Your company has a great story, and you’d like to get some media coverage. But journalists, like the rest of us, are inundated with emails, messages, and general noise, so it can be hard to get their attention. Here are some tips to make the most of your PR pitch.
Research your target. Before sending a pitch, you should know what topics the journalist covers. It might take a little excavating through past articles, but it can pay dividends. Pitching a story on your company's latest ophthalmic device to a writer who covers the urology beat doesn't make much sense.
Pinpoint your targets. If you're pitching a story about the latest medical device in the ophthalmology field, chances are Martha Stewart Living magazine is not your best bet. Unless you've heard that Martha is designing a new line of phoropters, then go for it.
Email is still the best choice for first contact. Most journalists agree that email is still the best way to contact them. If you can’t find an email address, try reaching them through social media like LinkedIn or Twitter. Helpful hint: Put your pitch in the body of the email and not as an attachment, so it doesn’t end up in the Spam folder.
Make your subject line interesting. Summarize what your email is about in the subject line and catch the journalist’s attention by piquing their curiosity. Getting them to open the email is the first step in getting coverage. And keep them under 50 characters. For example, “Tech changes the way patients see optometrists.”
Find the element that will sell your story. What makes your news compelling? Is there a human-interest angle? Highlight the aspects a journalist can sink their teeth into.
Keep your pitch short and sweet. According to surveys, most journalists (over 90 percent) prefer pitches under 200 words.
Make it easy on a reporter. They've got deadlines to meet and are (usually) overworked. As a good public relations practitioner, make sure you provide everything they need, from compelling quotes to hi-res digital photos. The less legwork they must do, the easier it is for them to say yes to a pitch. And if you can make all the resources easily accessible in a digital location (think Dropbox), all the better.
Follow up. People are busy. Email boxes are stuffed. A quick follow-up to see if they got your initial email can go a long way. Just don’t be a pest.
Be accessible, helpful, and friendly. Journalists work on deadlines (usually tight ones), so being available to answer questions, arrange interviews, send photos, provide quotes, or other additional support promptly is golden. And can go a long way in creating a good relationship for when your next pitch comes down the pike.
Get relationship-y. You don't have to be a reporter's best friend, but a warm relationship goes a long way. And if they know you are a reliable source of information, it's a win-win. Oh, and follow your favorite journalists on social media. Interact with them. Get to know their digital personas and the kind of stories that pique their interest.
Is it news, or will it work better as a blog post? Not everything your company does will be as exciting to the outside world as it is to insiders. Some things make more sense as a post on your company's blog rather than waste time pitching a story that will never see ink.