In PR we pitch media to generate results for our clients. A lot.
If you work in the public relations industry, it’s pretty likely that you’ve sent out a pitch or two, or 500+. As PR professionals, we want to insert our clients into media conversations and garner meaningful coverage that helps boost their awareness. So, we pitch our hearts out to reporters and editors with the hopes that they will cover our story.
We’ve all pitched to the point of exhaustion and have each wondered, “Why haven’t they responded? Why don’t they want to cover this?” The truth can be harsh, but it’s probably one of these reasons:
- The media you’re pitching don’t care.
- Your story isn’t a fit for their publication.
- They have covered it before.
- You pitched the same reporter too many times – they now consider you spam.
We’ve all been there. Here are a few tips to combat the above scenarios and lead you to pitching success.
- The media you’re pitching don’t care. Do your research. Tools like Cision are really helpful when building media lists, but they don’t do all the thinking for you. Make sure that the media you’re pitching cover the appropriate beat. Visit the publication’s website and see what the reporter you’re targeting has been writing. Have they written stories about similar topics before? When did they publish? Does this reporter still write there? If I am on the fence about pitching someone, I check out their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to see what they talk about. Discover what interests them and make a connection!
- Your story isn’t a fit for their publication. When you are creating your media list, think about how your story would be written in each publication. Can you envision what it looks like and how it reads? Think about what its headline would be and why it matters to those readers. If you can’t see how your story would fit, nix it and move on to the next.
- They have covered it before. Always double-check to see who has covered the kind of story you’re pitching. If your target publication recently wrote about something similar – acknowledge that in your pitch and position your story as a follow-up piece. Pull out what makes this idea special and explain why their readers will care.
- You pitched the same reporter too many times – they now consider you spam. This is one of all PR pros’ darkest fears: being blacklisted. We all want to be taken seriously, and no one wants her name placed on the mental spam list. Have you found yourself pitching the same reporter five different story ideas and receiving zero responses? Take a step back. Revisit reasons 1-3 above and see if one or more of those could be the cause for the media’s silence. If you find yourself running in circles, call the newsroom or ask colleagues for their insight. It’s also okay to ask the following in your pitch: “If you’re not the best contact for this type of story, I would greatly appreciate if you could direct me to the person that is.” This tactic can be extremely helpful and you’ll find that many reporters are happy to forward along your pitch.
Pitching the media is one of the best parts about working in public relations. We love securing coverage because it’s important to both our clients and ourselves, and it’s a great way to showcase results. Even if we think we’ve hit a wall or nothing is happening – no matter what, we will work to generate results!