Media pitch writing tips
Ready to start contacting media so you can harness the power of PR? Here’s how to write a perfect media pitch that will get a busy journo’s attention.
Get straight to the point
How long do you think you have to catch someone’s attention during a phone media pitch?
I make a lot of phone calls to media – quite often to people who don’t know me – and honestly, I think I have less than 30 seconds to make an impression.
It doesn’t matter if you’re contacting media or making cold calls to prospects. People don’t have much time for chitchat before you get to the pitch, and they don’t have time to wait while you get to the point.
Ask yourself every time: how can I be as persuasive as possible in the least amount of time?
Hint: Think about how many times you’ve gone over your elevator speech, and treat your phone pitches to media the same way.
Use headlines to grab attention
How can you catch and hold attention when you’re emailing rather than on the phone?
"If you find yourself explaining ideas early in your phone or email pitch, your message probably needs more work."
Because I want recipients to click on my email, I always turn my subject line into a catchy headline. Surprisingly, journalists tell me they often receive emails with the subject line “Media release attached” or even with the subject line left blank. Use the email subject line to sell your idea in the same way that the headline of an article, news report or blog catches your attention.
And again, keep it short. Next time you’re drafting an email, challenge yourself to create an irresistible subject line that will lead everybody to click.
Hint: Almost all my email headlines are six words or fewer.
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Be clear about your message
When drafting your email message or phone script, be clear with yourself on what you’re trying to say. Respect the recipient’s time and get to the point.
Stick to bold, assertive statements. Explaining too much at this early stage can give an impression of uncertainty and you need to sound stronger than that. I believe explaining belongs in the media release or later on when the journalist has questions for you.
Hint: If you find yourself explaining ideas early in your phone or email pitch, your message probably needs more work.
Keep it concise – but creative
Challenge yourself to be more efficient with language by using powerful words and efficient sentences. I can write or speak using long-winded sentences that take you all the way around the garden or I can walk you directly to the rose bush. For this purpose, we’re going straight for the roses.
But we’d still like the path to be scenic. So if writing is not your forte (or even if it is) have a word storm before you begin. Spend ten minutes writing down every word you can think of that will help you describe and sell this idea. Get excited and have fun – now you have your own thesaurus to use for the pitch writing.
Hint: To really get your creative juices flowing, try making up words and phrases that convey your meaning.
Be your own barometer
The more you enjoy what you’ve written, the more your recipients will engage with you and your ideas. Would this pitch really catch your attention? Are you getting someone excited or just listing things?
Hint: Don’t try to rush the process of writing media pitches. Take time with your words and get them working hard for you.
Can you offer any other tips or hints for writing a perfect media pitch? Please share them below.