This post was written by intern Rachel Green.
Over the course of my 12-week public relations internship, I have written several pitches – some met with success and others not so much. In just this short amount of time, I’ve learned there are several key factors that can help transform a pitch into a valuable resource for journalists, editors and contributors.
According to BuzzStream, 44 percent of journalists receive a minimum of 20 pitches per day but only have time to write about one article per day. That’s a small window of opportunity to make an impact, so you’ve got to make your pitch stand out. Journalists are drawn to eye-catching pitches that are tailored to their beat and infused with valuable data-driven information. To increase the odds of a reporter reading your next pitch, follow these six guidelines:
Know your audience
Understand to whom you’re pitching and the general message of the publication. Nearly 80 percent of pitches get tossed because they don’t match a writer’s beat or won’t fit the publication’s audience. Tailoring your pitch to align with both the writer’s interests and the targeted demographic will improve the chances of it being read and considered a story worth pursuing.
Don’t be self-promotional
Editors and reporters can easily spot a pitch that is only meant to advertise a particular product or company. Once they realize this, 56 percent will decline to read further. Instead, focus on how you can provide value to the publication’s readers through interesting statistics, news or how-to information.
Tie your pitch to something relevant
Whether it’s a compelling industry statistic or a current news story, make your pitch relevant and timely. It takes the guesswork out of it for the journalist and allows you to frame your story around a current event.
Make important information jump off the page
You want the writer to look at the most valuable information first, so make it stand out. Use bullet points and bold type for key points, which help direct the reader’s eye, making it easier to discern what’s important.
Keep it short and sweet
Although journalists differ on their preferred length of a pitch, 100-200 words is usually enough to get your point across without forcing anyone to wade through impertinent information.
Help the editor “see” the story
Always help the editor where you can – suggest how your pitch can be used in the publication or offer to set up an interview with a key resource for more details. Include images, videos and other graphics to show how it could be visually appealing to the target audience. Also, offer to provide more information as needed, which demonstrates your willingness to help the journalist complete the story.
By implementing these tips, your pitch is more likely to be read, and you’re one step closer to securing a PR placement that accurately tells your client’s story.