A high-level view of this important media tactic.
As any baseball player will tell you, there’s an art to pitching. Learning to throw at just the right speed and curve takes practice, patience, and perseverance. The same principles apply to the classic media relations tactic that PR Practitioners lovingly refer to as media pitching. Whether you’re standing on the mound ready to strike or dialing into the news desk with the “perfect” story, you have to be prepared.
Here’s a simple list that will help you put your best foot forward on your next call.
Be Informed – The best way to get a story picked up is to call or email the right person about the right topic, at the right outlet, at the right time. Do your research!
Once you’ve found the right reporter, get to know them. Read stories they’ve written, confirm how long they’ve been at that media outlet, research where they were previously, etc. Reporters appreciate when publicists do their homework.
Be Attentive – It’s important when pitching a story to be attentive to the reporter’s needs.
Be Creative – Reporters, and everyone else in the world, can tell when you’re reading from a script. So,
get crafty with your pitch by throwing in a curve ball, like a comment or compliment on a recent story they’ve written. It’s also important to listen for signs that a reporter isn’t in the right frame of mind or is busy with something else when you call. If you think they’re distracted, ask them when a better time would be to connect.
Be Distinctive – Media receive hundreds of emails every day, so before picking up the phone or hitting send, think about what makes your story unique.
Once you have this down, just take a moment to make sure your talking points are in order. Grasping the reporter’s attention in the first few moments is critical; otherwise, you might lose their interest.
To catch their attention right off the bat, try front-loading all the best, quick-hitting, juicy facts, then offer up an interview with your spokesperson to get more details.
You might not hit a home run every time, but using these tips will help you get into scoring position. Practice makes perfect.