The media landscape we face today has changed significantly over the last ten years with the addition of new communications tools and sources such as smart devices and social media. However, the rules for successful story pitching are very much based on the same foundations. It is still key to personalise your pitch to ensure you are providing relevant information to the right media source that is of value to their audience base.
I often find it useful to work backwards and identify what success looks like for the particular campaign or project you are working on. When you know whether success is an exclusive article in a tier one publication, coverage in a number of key titles or indeed coverage across a range of industry mediums you can then start to plan how to achieve that.
Then, you can identify how the target media likes to receive information, what audience they are appealing to and whether the content you have available to work with is relevant. It is also key to ensure your target is interested in the content you are providing. Check if they have written anything on the topic previously and quote that back to them when pitching:
“I read the article you wrote about x a couple of weeks ago and found the part about x particularly interesting. I wanted to share some information on a similar topic I have that I felt would be relevant to your audience/readership because.....” etc etc.
Also, to add gravitas to your pitch, check if there are any current stories on the public agenda that could provide context for your pitch. For example, if you are pitching a story about, say, technology for customer service, identify if there have been any examples of poor customer service that have made it on to the public agenda recently and refer to that. This simply provides relevance to your pitch.
A well thought out story presented in a way that is relevant to your target and identifies why it would be of interest to their audience or readership will stand you in good stead to achieve solid results and will help to enhance your relationship with your target. However, try not to be despondent if you do not receive the desired results. When I started in PR someone gave me the following piece of advice, I may be showing my age with the content in the below:
“You could have the most thought out and targeted story that is ideal for the journalist you’re pitching to but if the Queen Mother dies tomorrow it won’t make it near the newspaper.”
The important thing to remember is to be consistently targeted and relevant because the odds of achieving success will outweigh the disappointments.
This article was originally posted in PR Moment:
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