How to pitch journalists

There are a few ways you can define what a pitch is, from the quality of a sound to a level of intensity. In PR, however, it is the term we use to describe when we are approaching journalists with specific stories that we’d like them to cover.

For any PR professional, the components of a pitch are an essential string to their PR bow. The perfect pitch will produce the most fruitful ends - like a beautiful harp, comprised of the finest materials, producing beautiful melodies. These three steps below will help you approach journalists and have the potential to transform your business and your relationship with the media.

Do your research
Begin by finding a journalist that you think would be a good fit to cover your story. This can be done by searching on Twitter, or by finding articles with similar topics to the story you are planning to put out and seeing who has authored them.

In your pitch, you should show that you’ve done your homework: let them know why you are approaching them and mention similar articles they’ve written before. Give tangible and understandable reasons for why your story should run, don’t simply blurt out nothing statements such as “my company is so much better than [COMPANY], use it next time”.

Always keep the tone of the pitch positive and upbeat. You should come across as friendly, knowledgeable and confident, without seeming narcissistic and self-centred. This is not an overnight process. So, don’t be disheartened if your pitch doesn’t go to plan. Rework, reform and retry. Don’t get lost in self-deprecation, that’s not good for anyone.

Be agile
Whilst it’s completely acceptable to have a blanket term for beginning your pitches, they should definitely not all look the same. You need to really keep a close eye on your wording and if certain phrasing is not getting you any results, then bin it. Achieving pitch perfection is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to run those miles with agility at the forefront of your mind, shape-shifting your pitch to fit the needs and quirks of each journalist and publication that you send it to.

Show that you can devote as much time as they may need from you, to get your story to run. This can be in the form of offering a phone call or a coffee meeting. You want to make the journalist feel special, and that you’d go the extra mile for them.

Follow up
If you’ve taken the time to create a spectacular pitch for a spectacular publication, don’t rush to waste the time you’ve spent. After all, it’s much more beneficial to have one great piece than several generic ones, as a top-tier piece will filter down to the smaller ones anyway. Give the journalist some time to clear their inbox, and send a polite chaser email after a few days or give them a quick phone call.

Good luck, and happy pitching!

BY JAMIE GRIFFIN, JUNIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE AT CEW COMMS.