Four Enchanting Ways To Get Lucky When Pitching Media

Are you feeling lucky? Those of us in PR feel particularly charmed when we land a big placement, and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day—and every day—it’s important to create our own luck when reaching out to reporters.

Whether you’re Irish or not, may every leaf on the shamrock bring you good fortune when following these four media pitching tips:

News Monitoring Can Be Your Lucky Charm

Monitoring the news, frequently, is vital. Real-time news alerts should be set up to notify you as soon as your organization or one of your brands is mentioned in a news story. Magical media monitoring tools track topics across print, online and broadcast media output, allowing you to measure the success of your campaign(s) or deal with a crisis quickly. 

Also, monitoring trends and breaking news can open a treasure trove of news-jacking opportunities where you can delightfully take advantage of a current event or news story to weave your brand’s expertise into the conversation.

No Shenanigans–Do Your Research

Unlike St. Patrick’s Day when everyone is invited to celebrate, media pitches should be reserved for only the appropriate media outlets after thorough research.

  • Don’t take a leap—know your audience. Journalists change beats frequently, so look at their profiles and review their most recent pieces to see what types of news they actually cover. What are they passionate about? You could very well have the most mystical fairy tale to pitch, but—if you send it to the wrong journalist—it could mean a heap of misfortune.
  • Don’t spend too much time looking for the four-leaf clover. Remember that you lepre-can (and should) tailor your pitch to suit the journalist. Read their bylines to see what’s relevant to them and customize your intro accordingly, but only when you can be specific and sincere. You must first determine why your story idea connects with what a particular journalist covers and communicate that clearly and authentically.

Make Your Headline Magical

The point of the pitch is to lure the reporter, writer or producer to engage in dialogue, so you must show value and preview your pitch in the subject line. Interject descriptors, such as “new,” “first,” “only” and “best.”

  • Customize the subject line with a wealth of riches. Name the outlet’s specific segment, feature, column, etc. to demonstrate to the editor or producer that you’re familiar with their content. Call out the type of pitch (Q&A, guest appearance or expert interview, subsequent news release, contributing article, etc.), and don’t leave it to chance—anticipate their needs. Tease additional assets such as b-roll, expert and real people sources, data and stats, infographics, etc.
  • Don’t obsess about length. According to an analysis conducted by Muck Rack, the median word count for headlines among pitches with an email open rate of 90% or higher was 10. However, subject lines longer than 10 words can be effective; they just have to be noble.

Sham-ROCK and Roll with Customized Pitches

Focus on delivering key amulets (for message development). Utilize brevity and clarify the benefit with simplicity. The right words can provide impact and inspire action. The main charms should answer the basic questions: Who? What? When? Where? and How?

If you abide by this charming advice, you’re sure to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Sherri Kirk is director at Inspire PR Group.