- It’s easier to get direct e-mail addresses or the name of the correct person to pitch if you call news desks late at night or on weekends, when the gatekeepers are gone.
- Despite conventional advice, don’t limit your pitch to only a subject line. Write two or three (or even four or more) detailed graphs that fully explains your story. (I’ve been in the PR business for a long time, and previously was a reporter and editor. I have never been told that my pitches are too long. Why? I always target the proper individual and draft my pitches as if I was still a journalist so the person on the receiving side can see how a story might flow.)
- When attempting to place a photograph don’t waste time by trying to write a short, cute caption. It’s not the caption; it’s the image that counts. Just give the editor an interesting photo with detailed information. They can write their own captions (and they’re probably better at it than you are).
- Many account people disregard TV outlets if they don’t have strong visuals to accompany a story. That’s wrong thinking. The strength of a story is the most important element. Visuals can always be worked out with a segment producer; also, many interviews are nothing more than the much-maligned talking heads, which is often a no-no according to teachers of public relations.
- Never approach assignment editors with a straight story pitch, unless you have a “must use, can’t miss” story. Always have a few different story angles that you can throw out to the editor.
- Think broadly. Explain why your story fits into a larger news picture. For example, if you’re pitching a shoe company’s new line, think of proper foot care; for a financial institution, household money management; for a health-related product, stress the importance of proper use of all products, not just the one you’re pitching; for a sports-related product, how to limit injuries because of weather conditions. If your story is strong enough, most likely you’ll get your own segment. If it’s a weak story, giving various options can make it usable. Editors and producers appreciate when you provide various options. That’s how you make media friends.
- Extend the shelf life of your story by thinking long term and suggesting feature as well as hard news angles.
7 Ways to Separate Yourself From the Pack When Pitching the Media
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