APOLOGY: We've identified a bad actor who has sent spam responses to some users. We're now adding extra safeguards to our service to address this and are very sorry for any inconvenience caused. 

HOW TO GET AND KEEP A JOURNALIST'S ATTENTION

04 November 2021 Sourcey team member

As a business owner, you know the power of generating good publicity. Unfortunately, not being sure how exactly to pitch your business to relevant media is likely to stymie your efforts or hold you back. We understand that questions like how to best grab the media's attention or where to even start can be paralysing, thereby stopping you from even trying. 

Well, the truth is that this is a norm in the entrepreneurial world. Not all entrepreneurs have it all figured out when it comes to pitching the Fourth Estate. Journalists are busy people, given the nature of their job. Thus, a great lesson you need to learn is how to get and keep their attention.

Admittedly, it is a learning curve, requiring (ideally) baby-step beginnings as you build your pitching muscles. But eventually you come to realise that pitching is more of an 'art' than simply sending out information solely because the media's purpose is to inform. 

So, let's delve into the art of hooking (and keeping) the attention of the press with some simple, and easy-to-employ tips. 

ENLIST EMAIL PITCHING

You never go wrong with an email pitch that demonstrates knowledge of, and respect for, the end reader.

The majority of journalists will tell you they favour an email pitch over the phone pitch - which can be  known to trigger an angry response if you're hassling a journalist on deadline. But, just emailing the journalist your story idea is often not enough to capture their attention. There's some finessing required, using the following tips:  

Subject line

Engagingly craft your subject line – and keep it consise - using a maximum of 7 words. A great tip by Dylan Tweney of Venture Beat is to grab attention with the subject line. 

"Keep it short — you have to get my attention with the subject line plus the first line or two of the email, and you have to close it with the first two to four paragraphs." 

Let it be short and to the point

A journalist can receive over 100 emails daily and they have to go through them all, so chances are, longer emails get sidelined. Accordingly, keep your email short and to the point, all while clearly stating the main details of your pitch.

Be transparent

Honesty is not negotiable in a pitch. Journalists value credibility, and if they realise you're trying to game their intelligence, things are likely to fall apart. And very fast in this case.

Paul Sawers of VentureBeat advises: 

"Be honest, clear with the information provided, and give some context as to why it matters, including competitors. Too many pitches are misleading, vague, or inaccurate — it saves everyone a lot of time if pitches are detailed and clear, while being concise." 

Exercise restraint

Sure, we understand the urgency of your pitch and how crucial it is to get more eyeballs. But this does not mean you should send 10 emails!

Bombarding a journalist with emails is only likely to leave a bad taste in the mouth of whomever's email inbox you're smashing and get you blacklisted in the future!

Know the journalist

It's definitely better to craft a pitch to a journalist you know, particularly around their work and interests. In fact, the more you know about a particular journalist, the better your pitch targeting gets.

And naturally, sending pitches based on their interests (not yours!) translates to much better chances of coverage. 

Be time conscious

Journalists are busy people, so it's important to be time conscious when following up on any pitch you've sent them previously.

You need to allow enough time for the press to work on your story because they always have a crowded schedule. (And unless it's a breaking story, it's unlikely to be treated with the degree of urgency you might hope for.)

Give a heads-up

When something is going down – a launch, a business model change or another newsworthy event - alert the relevant media in advance of it happening to help them prepare. (You can always embargo the pitch to avoid the story being run in advance.) 

SUMMING UP

Getting journalists on your side when you need them will always be a delicate dance. But by respectfully employing the tips noted above, you'll improve your chances of getting it right. 

Comments