TOP TIPS FOR WRITING A WINNING MEDIA PITCH

04 September 2020 Bec Derrington

Creating compelling media pitches is the cornerstone of any PR-driven strategy, with effective media pitching positioning you as an industry leader and generating conversations about your brand. It links you to editors, bloggers, social media influencers, and journalists to carry your communication to the next level.

But there's a problem: reporters have to wade through hundreds of media pitches flooding their inboxes EACH DAY. This means you have to do a lot to stand out from the crowd.

Before resonating with the person charged with accepting or declining the pitch, you first have to understand what a media pitch is and how it differs from other communication types.

What is a Media Pitch?

Consider this to be a pitch letter written to the relevant contacts and media outlets. Your audience could be a journalist, editor, or a publication (digital or print). The write-up offers vital information concerning your intended message as well as your proposal. When writing a media pitch, you must explain why your text is essential, your source of information, and the added value of the material to the current news series.

A media pitch is not a press release. These write-ups outline every detail of a feature article or news story then explain why the journalist's audience will be interested. These usually maintain a conversational tone and are tailored for particular journalists. A press release, on the other hand, offers the entire story in its context. It keeps a journalistic style, written in third-person. The information is usually sufficiently in-depth, allowing the journalist to cover the whole story without the need for additional information.

When writing a media pitch, the key to hitting your story's 'selling point' is twofold. An excellent message must transform your issue or subject from what you perceive to be necessary to what your reporter considers newsworthy. So, what should you do to get your write-up noticed?

The way to a journalist's heart (or ears) is to highlight every crucial detail to form a compelling story. Here are some practical tips to ensure you write a winning media pitch: 

Know Your Audience

Before beginning your media pitch, you first need some time to figure out who the intended audience is. You also need to know their interests to ensure you create a personalised pitch. Start with websites whose readers you understand well and would love to appeal to.

To achieve this efficiently, you can leverage solutions such as the audience interest tool. These can help break down the site categories where your target audience finds their interests. With this knowledge, you may even go more in-depth to pull out popular subjects and keywords. Whatever resource you use, ensure you understand your audience well before writing to them.

Be Selective with the Information to Send

Do a quick search on Twitter for the hashtag #PRfail, and you'll realize a common complaint – generic media pitches.

While email blasts may be a common strategy, they can be really sloppy and attract little response. Rather, target specific writers who cover subject areas matching your brand story. For instance, if you wish to launch a new automation product, it would be ideal to contact the publication's tech correspondent instead of communicating with the news desk.

Avoid blanket-mailing every journalist on a target publication. Still, you can send a similar pitch to several publications once. You'll not get responses from all the journalists you've pitched, so it would be of your best interest to maximise your coverage. Also, avoid sending your pitch to generic email addresses since they're mostly badly monitored most of the time. Instead, seek the professional emails of your preferred journalists then reach out directly.

Pick the Correct Angle

Media coverages usually adopt particular perspectives when writing each story. So you should craft your pitch at an angle to save the journalist's time and increase their chances of issuing a positive response. You require some practice to get it right with the angle, but you can leverage several practical approaches.

For instance, newsjacking could create a robust angle by connecting your pitch to timely news events. Also, you can hook it to a popular, trending topic like a new movie on your social platforms then conform the pitch around the conversation. You can also leverage milestone events like awards and anniversaries to get the right angle.

Structure the Pitch

As informal as it may seem, you need to choose a functional approach to structuring the pitch email. Journalists often work with daily deadlines, so it would help if you structure it in a way that makes it easy for them to absorb the data. This significantly grows your chances of getting their attention and coverage ultimately.

For instance, you may begin with something personal like a recent story they covered, then find the best way to relate it with your pitch. You can also proceed to create news value through explanations of why your information should interest the journalist's audience. Finally, be sure to add a call to action directing what the journalist should do after going through your pitch.

Create a Robust Subject Line

According to an eye-opening study, about two-thirds of journalists view pitch emails (or fail to do so) based on the subject line. The same study research also notes that up to 60% of publication writers will go for subject lines matching their beats. These findings tell just how crucial the subject line is if you wish to get it right with your media pitch.

You can get it right by mimicking the style of the journalist's previous headlines. About 75% of publishers opt for briefer subject lines, so you must keep it as short as possible. Finally, you can pull out any data or statistics from the pitch then use this to create a catchy subject line.

Personalise Your Pitches

Whoever's going to receive and read the offering is, well, human. So it would be best if you ensure each email you send is unique and customised for the targeted person. For instance, talk about a story that they've covered in a recent publication or on their social platforms. But why all this effort?

Recent studies indicate that personalised emails have a higher open rate at 18.8%. Those without personalisation, on the other hand, have an open rate of 13.1%. These statistics clearly show how personalisation can help get your pitch noticed.

There's a lot that you can do to come up with a winning media pitch. The above tips will not only raise the chances of visibility but will also ensure you get it right with your pitching and get the anticipated positive responses.

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