You have an excellent idea for a story, but now comes the potentially challenging part — developing a perfect pitch that makes a journalist interested in covering your story. Here are some tips to help you craft and land your pitch.
Don’t bury the lede!
You only have a few seconds to capture a journalist's attention. So you have to draw them in at the beginning of your pitch. Your opening paragraph should immediately hook them, similar to any published article. The first few sentences will determine if the reader is engaged enough to care about your story and continue reading.
Show off your credentials
Once you’ve piqued the journalist’s interest, next explain why your product or service is great and worth covering. Or perhaps you or a colleague want to be interviewed for a story. Let the journalist know why you are a subject matter expert and uniquely qualified to speak to a particular topic.
Do your homework
Research the journalist and their publication. Visit the publication’s website and check out the journalist’s social media channels. Take note of the types of stories and topics being covered and shared on their social channels. Your story pitch should be relevant to the publication’s readers and be aligned with the journalist’s previous work. But be sure to have a unique angle to make your pitch stand out. New study? Fresh perspective? Give the journalist a compelling reason to revisit the topic.
Timing is everything
A great idea at the wrong time can sadly get your pitch rejected. Many publications have an editorial calendar on their website. So be sure to check for upcoming themes and submission deadlines. Be mindful of the day’s headlines. If there’s a huge national or international story breaking and it’s unrelated to what you hope to get covered, that’s not the day to pitch.
Follow-up, but don’t be annoying
Journalists are busy people. Patience is key. Wait at least a week before following up. At that time, it’s okay to send a short, polite email asking them if they’ve reviewed your story pitch. Best case scenario, you’ll receive a response either way. If not, move on and pitch your story idea to another journalist.
The most important thing is to remain professional in your communications if your pitches get rejected, or journalists ghost your email. You never know when or if you may end up pitching that same journalist in their current capacity or in a new role at a different publication. Don’t burn bridges.
Crafting perfect pitches and professional communication is necessary to cultivate relationships with publications and individual journalists. All of which can help you land your pitches!