Within any thriving business or industry, it is only natural that news coverage and news pitching should occur. But what if you have never pitched to the media? In order to promote your agency’s success and its involvement within the community and gain invaluable news coverage, it is necessary that the media cover it.
Even beginners can pitch their agency to the media. By following these easy do’s and don’ts of media pitching, your agency will be gaining invaluable news coverage in no time.
DO email first. Journalists are some of the busiest people you will meet. They simply do not have time to take random phone calls or read letters. Email is the most preferred method of communication among journalists. When emailing, keep it short and simple – include your press release and a short note at the end of the email explaining why they should cover your release and how it will benefit the media outlet’s audiences.
DO contact specific reporters. If you want media coverage you must first figure out which journalist is best for your agency. Research what reporters in your area generally cover and what topics they’ve covered recently. Know which ones cover business, economic development, construction or city issues. This will help you narrow down who to pitch to. If all else fails and you can’t figure out who the right person is, call the media outlet and ask.
DO know the publication and find the right angle. It is very important to know the tone and style of the publication you are pitching. If the story or news about your agency is not the sort of topic they regularly cover, they won’t look twice at your pitch. In order to catch their eye, be sure to find an angle on your story that aligns with the topics they tend to cover.
DO tailor your pitch for the needs of each medium. Don’t forget to set up plenty of photo opportunities for television media, human-interest stories for print and interviews for radio.
DO keep digital media in mind. Look for bloggers or other digital media sources that tend to write on your topics and stories.
DON’T come unprepared. It is important to read carefully through the press materials you’re pitching and highlight the most newsworthy information and facts for quick reference. You must prepare in order to deliver a successful pitch.
DON’T tell the media what you want from them. Do not tell the media outlet you are pitching to what you want them to do. Instead, ask them about the kinds of stories they’re looking for or the topics their journalists are interested in covering. By learning what they want, you can tailor your communications to get what you want.
DON’T over-pitch. If you’ve sent a journalist the same pitch a few times and haven’t heard back, they probably are not interested. While a follow-up email or phonecall is perfectly acceptable, being pushy is not. If your pitch is not being picked up, it is time to re-write and re-angle the story.
DON’T send any press materials as email attachments. Most attachments go to spam at media outlets. Instead, copy the press material into the body of the email and refer to it in your pitch message. If you are sending photos, embed the photos into the body of the email and offer additional hi-res versions upon request.
Time to Pitch
If you follow the simple and fool-proof do’s and don’ts of media pitching, you will have a good shot at delivering successful and winning media pitches resulting in news coverage for your agency. While media pitching may seem like an art form in itself, it is a skill anyone can learn. All industries and businesses – especially your CRA – have something to gain from effective media pitching and coverage.
For help developing the perfect pitch, please contact Jessie Johnson, FRA’s account executive at RB Oppenheim Associates. RB Oppenheim Associates is an integrated marketing and communications firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. RB Oppenheim Associates can provide numerous services for your CRA such as advertising, social media management, web development and more. Public relations counseling and advice is included in your FRA Membership. You can also ask a question on MyFRA to get quick answers to specific problems from your peers.