4 STEPS TO MAKE A JOURNALIST LIKE YOU (AND THE PITCHES THAT YOU SEND THEM)

03 December 2020 Guest Contributor

You might only know them by their bylines, but journalists are people too. And as a PR pro, your odds of having your story picked up by a media outlet all boils down to one simple truth: You need to catch the journalist's eye and make them like you. Think of it like a first date. If you make a great first impression, your odds of developing a healthy relationship goes up significantly. The following PR tips and tricks will make any journalist fall in love with your pitch and feature your story, brand or product in their next piece.

1. Know Your Target

The more you know about the journalist, the better you can tailor your pitch to their unique preferences, background, and the types of stories they usually write. After identifying a few media outlets that you'd like to get featured in, do some background research on the blogger, journalist or reporter. 

  • Read their past work. On most media websites, you can click their bio to see their past work. Or, do a quick Google search. In Google, enter their name in quotation marks, plus the specific topic you're interested in. For example: "Writer Name" + technology trends
  • Check their social media accounts to see what's going on in their lives, and what trends or news stories they're personally engaging with.
  • Visit their personal website or blog to see what hobbies or interests they enjoy when they're not wearing their professional journalism hat.

The more you know about a journalist, the better you can tailor your pitch to their interests. Most PR outreach attempts fail because the content you're pitching isn't what the journalist covers, or isn't what they're interested in talking about. 

2. Do Media Monitoring

Keep an eye on what terms, ideas and stories are trending in your specific industry. You can easily do this by scanning the news daily, or setting up a Google alert so you get an email anytime something new appears online about the topic you're interested in.

The benefits are twofold: 

  • You'll become familiar with more journalists who cover the topic related to your brand, product or marketing efforts. 
  • You'll know what's timely, relevant and newsworthy, so you can tailor your pitch to what's currently on the mind of the journalist.  

3. Develop Your Tailored Pitch

Now that you know the journalist's preferences and what's timely and urgent in the world of news, craft a tailored pitch that: 

  • Appeals to the writer's beat (the topic he or she normally covers for the media outlet).
  • Connects with what's newsworthy and time-sensitive, ensuring the journalist's work will make both his publisher and his audience happy.
  • Gives the journalist just enough info to catch her attention, but not so much that she's overwhelmed or has to spend a lot of time figuring out your angle.

In general, the best pitch that will make a journalist like you is concise and to the point (think no more than 300 words) and communicates the value of your story: 

  • Is it newsworthy?
  • Is it timely?
  • Does it have an interesting or unusual angle that the journalist's readers haven't considered before?
  • Does it include authoritative data? (No fluff, please!)

For example, you could tie your PR pitch to a recently published study. Or, you might mention a new survey that shows what local readers are interested in. Or maybe you could highlight how this angle builds on another article that the blogger recently published, and adds additional surprising insights.  

The journalist will fall in love with you (and your pitch) if you can quickly hit the highlights and make it easy for the writer to pitch the article to his or her publisher. Do the work for them, because the easier you make their job, the more they'll like you and publish you!

4. Craft the Perfect Subject Line

Journalists get dozens of pitches a day. Now that you have the perfect story proposal, make sure your pitch doesn't get buried in their inbox: 

  • Keep it short and to the point
  • Throw in something that makes them curious and gets them to open your email
  • Add some personalisation using the background research you already did on the journalist 

Finally, if a journalist opens your email and replies (firstly, well done YOU!!!!), always respond as soon as possible. Bloggers and journalists are often on a big time crunch, and they'll like you more (and run your story) if you respond to their queries quickly. 

Happy pitching! 

PS: Are you receiving free publicity opportunities, straight into your inbox? 

No?!! (Wha?) 

Let's fix that... right here!

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