As PR professionals, we know there’s a lot that goes into developing the perfect pitch. The planning process is just as important as the writing itself when working to successfully generate media coverage for our clients. Here are some helpful steps you can take to help develop your perfect pitch.
Know your news. First and foremost, you must understand why your information is newsworthy. What about this story is it important to share? Who is going to care about it? When tasked with going out with a pitch, consider the news values established by industry professionals: timeliness, impact, prominence, proximity, conflict and human interest.
Determine your audience. It’s important to understand exactly who you want this news to reach, and which media outlets this target audience consumes. Are they reading newspapers, magazines or watching broadcast news? Are they only consuming online media in short doses? Does your target audience consist of only one area, or should this news have an expansive outreach? Maybe the story has complicated details that would be more captivating to tell in print. Or, can it be easily understood after a short broadcast interview? Understanding the audience and channel will help you craft your story angle.
Find the right contacts. Do your research to find which editors and reporters will be most interested in sharing your news.Look into the stories they’ve covered most recently and use that knowledge to layout your pitch in a personalized and compelling way. Find the right people, and tell them why their audience will care.
Make an outline. Planning out your thoughts in writing first creates less room for error and will help you lay out your story angle in the best way. This also allows you to prioritize your information, be concise and avoid unnecessary language.
Grab their interest. A creative lead that grabs attention will help ensure your pitch gets read. Help the journalist envision the final story – while still giving enough opportunity for them to give it a unique take.
Conduct personalized follow up. Email pitches can get lost or overlooked in media inboxes all the time, so it never hurts to do personalized follow-up after sharing a great pitch. Be ready to summarize the story idea on the phone, and never assume media has seen your initial communication. Lay out all the information and resources you have to offer that will make it easy for them to create their final story.