Pitching is 95% preparation, 5% action. Here’s my guide to preparing the perfect media pitch in seven easy steps so you can generate news about your business.
1. Identify your target media
Think about the demographics of your ideal client: their age, gender, income, geography, and interests. The more specific you are, the better you’ll be able to tailor your PR efforts to the right audience and the less likely it is you’ll spend time and effort getting publicity that never reaches your target market.
Next you need to match your ideal client to the media that he or she reads, listens to, or views. This will take a little research on your part, and might include daily and community newspapers, business journals, radio stations, TV stations, local magazines, and national media outlets.
2. Analyse your target media
Read back issues, download radio broadcasts or watch a few episodes. Note the names of the journalists covering topics that you can offer opinion on. How do they present stories? Is the tone sensational or dispassionate?
You’re analysing your target media to get clues about what they like to cover. The more you practice and analyse the media the easier it becomes to spot story opportunities, and the more aware you’ll become of how many news stories are placed by people just like you calling journalists.
3. Create your media pitch
Write a short speech that presents your news hook to the media in an interesting and concise way. Keep your script to 15 seconds - or even less. Studies have shown that’s the amount of time you’ll have with a reporter on the phone. That’s fine. Just practise well.
4. Have the supporting facts at your fingertips
If your 15-second media pitch sparks a journalist’s interest they’ll go on to ask detailed questions, so before you pick up the phone, prepare and print out all the pertinent supporting facts about your company and the story. This is vital, especially if your mind goes blank whenever a journalist, producer or editor answers the phone.
5. Prepare more than one news hook
Don't waste everybody’s time by putting all of your PR eggs in one basket. Have a few news angles to suggest. It often makes the difference between a successful placement and a waste of effort.
6. Keep notes of your activity
I find it best to keep a worksheet open on my computer while I’m making media calls. I recommend you do the same so you’ll be able to immediately fill in the details of your activity instead of trying to remember everything later.
Got any pressing questions about pitching news stories to journalists? Your 15 seconds start now.
“ You need to match your ideal client to the media that he or she reads, listens to, or views. ”