11 Media Pitching Tips for PR Pros

recover-deleted-emailIf you're a PR practitioner, chances are you've been feeling the pressure to be a jack-of-all-trades. You need to excel as a social media marketer, crisis manager, search engine optimization expert, measurement maven, Google Analytics genius, media trainer, branded content producer, infographic creator, video editor, public speaker, LinkedIn influencer...the list goes on.

Then you find out that all your CEO or clients really care about is positive coverage in The Wall Street Journal.

Oh yes, pitching the media. This ultimate raison d'être for PR pros will never fade, and the job keeps getting harder. With every week that passes there seems to be more PR pros and fewer gainfully employed, experienced, influential journalists.

Working journalists typically say they delete 20 email pitches at a time with nary a glance at the subject lines. To help you move the odds a bit more in your favor, Tracy Schario, communications officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts, and a presenter at PR News' Dec. 11 Media Relations Next Practices Conference in Washington, D.C., offers 11 tips to help you connect with the journalists who matter in your market.

• Anticipate a reporter’s needs; pitching isn’t necessarily about the company’s needs.

Tracy Schario
  1. Separate real news about your company from promotional puffery.
  2. Deliver a sharp story angle that will be of interest to the reading or viewing public.
  3. Do the reporter’s homework—include facts, figures, photos, video, trends and your contact info.

• Target the right reporters by doing your research.

  1. Build a custom pitch list for each story or news release.
  2. Review the reporter’s stories and those in the publication to understand audience and angles.
  3. Pick 5 to 20 reporters that might realistically cover your news; don’t spam 500 with a generic email.
  4. Show that you are a resource and want to help educate their readers, listeners or viewers.

• Build relationships by being responsive and accessible.

  1. Face-to-face relationships matter; meet for coffee or a drink.
  2. Timely responses to a reporter’s email and phone calls make a difference when you need something.
  3. Be friendly, be honest—even if it’s only to acknowledge the inquiry.
  4. Connect on LinkedIn, Twitter (Facebook can be too social).

See the complete list of presenters at PR News' Dec. 11 Media Relations Next Practices Conference.

Follow Tracy Schario: @TracySchario

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI