Pitch the Media Like a Pro

Crafting an effective pitch is key to securing media attention for yourself and your business. So, follow these eight tips to pitch the media like a pro:

#1. Keep it relevant and interesting. Your pitch must be about more than your business to help you snag the TV or radio interview or print attention you would like. That means putting the topic of your pitch in a broader context or tying it to something that is in the news.

#2. Target your pitch. Don’t send your pitch to everyone on your media list. Figure out which media are most likely to find it of interest based on their beats and the audiences they focus on – men, women, seniors, business owners, people with money troubles, and so on – what they’ve written about in the past, other individuals who have been guests on their shows, and so on.

#3. Use email. The vast majority of journalists and producers want to be pitched via email, not by mail fax or phone. Also, most of media people prefer not to be pitched on Facebook or Twitter.

#4. Write a compelling subject line. The media receive many, many emails every day from people just like you asking for their attention. But, they don’t have time to read every message that lands in their inboxes, so one of the ways they decide which ones to open is by looking at the subject lines of the emails they receive. Therefore, members of the media are most apt to open messages with subject lines that are interesting, intriguing (without being misleading) and that speak directly to them and their audiences.

#5. Get to the point right away. Put the most relevant aspects of your pitch in the very first paragraph of your message. Be clear and concise. The media don’t have time to scroll through multiple paragraphs trying to piece everything together. In fact if they have to, they are apt to become frustrated and delete your message.

#6. Don’t include attachments. If you do, your message may never end up in the inbox of the media person you are targeting and if it does, the recipient will probably delete it. Here are two better alternatives: Mention the information you have that you could send as an attachment in in your email, or embed links to that information in the message.

#7. Follow up judiciously. It’s always a good idea to follow up your email a day or two later with another email or even a phone call, depending on the media person. Most media are very busy and understand that they may overlook an important message in their email box, so they usually appreciate a friendly nudge. However, don’t do so much followup that you are viewed as a pest. If that happens, the media will probably want little to do with you.

#8. Take No for an answer. When someone tells you know that they are not interested in your pitch, accept the news gracefully. Don’t argue with them or tell them what a mistake they are making. Accept the fact that not every pitch you send will strike a cord with the media.

For more pitching advice, read what I learned when I attended a webinar sponsored by HARO.

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