Donna Vandiver, President & CEO
What you learned in Scouts is true- it’s best to be prepared. At TVG, when we teach staffers to pitch reporters, we talk about a number of things to make a pitch memorable and get the story picked up. Here are 8 of our best pitching tips:
1. Make it personal. If you were sending a note to a friend, you would know something about them. It’s no different with reporters. Know their beat, what they write about, and mention a piece they’ve done if you’ve read it and can say something relevant about it. Connecting to a reporter on a personal level will make your pitch stick out.
2. Do your homework. Gather good information and put it together in a compelling way. Think/Act like a reporter. What would you want to know? What would grab you? What’s grabbed you in the past?
3. Do your media research! Keep your media contact list up-to-date. People move around. There is nothing worse than getting a bounce back, because the reporter has moved on. Make sure all of your contacts are current and accurate before sending your pitch.
4. Proofread! Spell their name correctly. Don’t you automatically delete an email if your name is spelled wrong?
5. Get to the point. Don’t send an email asking if you can send them a pitch. This is like asking if you can ask a question. Don’t waste their time and yours with two emails, when one would do.
6. Maintain contact. Everyone’s busy. If they don’t respond, follow up within a few days. After that, it’s like starting over.
7. Say no to clickbait. Make sure your subject line matches the topic. There’s nothing wrong with being creative, but be sure you stay on message and on point.
8. Practice makes perfect! Don’t be easily discouraged, and don’t take it personally if a reporter doesn’t like your idea. Get better at packaging your ideas. Accept the challenge.
What are your best tips for pitching reporters? Tweet us @VandiverGroup, and let us know!