Pitching the Media Correctly


by Kristin Marquet

It doesn't matter whether you're a seasoned PR professional or a newbie, you'll need to know how to pitch the media correctly if you want to get publicity, interviews, articles and write ups about your business.

With all the bad pitches and PR spamming, it is time to teach you how to do it the right way. By pitching the media correctly, you will see your name in ink in no time. Trust me, when I first started, I hadn't a clue as to how to draft a pitch, but now I've become a media professional.

• The first and most important things you need to have are patience and persistence. The media gets flooded with millions of pitches per day.

• You must know your story inside out and backwards before you even attempt to build a media list. Get every angel of the story covered by conducting interviews with the people involved, industry professionals, and any other research you can find. Pursue the story as the same way a journalist would.

• Create variations of the story for different media outlets, but don't embellish. Keep each variation concise and to the point because media professionals do not have a lot of time to review your story, if it is as long as a book.

• Research each contact at each publication you think would be interested in your story. Read the journalist's work to determine what he or she is looking for. Research and find out their writing style and contact preference. Keep a top ten list of the journalists you think would be interested in covering the story.

• Test your pitch with one or two journalists. You can email or call the journalist. Keep the pitch to three or sentences at most if you call. Keep in mind that most journalists preferred to be contacted by email.

• Offer an exclusive story to your preferred media professional. The more compelling your story, the better chance it has getting picked up.

• Most journalists get dozens of pitches per day, which is why good follow up skills are essential. You should follow up in a day or two after you sent the first pitch. It is very rare a story gets picked up with one pitch. If you haven't heard from them, then follow up with a phone call. Don't afraid of being annoying, just tell them you are working on a strict deadline. If they are not interested, they will tell you.

• If you did not have any luck with that journalist, let it go and re-prioritize your list. Continue moving along because the more persistent you are, the more successful you will be.

• If you want to strengthen and polish your pitching skills, start with the local media because they are more likely to work with newbies.

• Once you build a strong portfolio of press clippings for your business, you will be able to create a media kit and send it out to larger publications that may be interested in covering your story.

For assistance with developing a pitch, creating a pitch letter, and creating a media list, contact Kristin at km@marquet-communications.com. Kristin Marquet is a regular contributor to the Secrets of Success blog.

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