When it comes to crafting a pitch for your feature story, we understand it can be difficult to get the attention of a busy journalist. We’ve compiled a list of 7 tips for you on how to pitch a feature story with ease.
1. Keep your pitch short and concise
The 24-hour news cycle has resulted in a greater demand for articles around the clock. Due to this, the world of journalism is so fast-paced that many journalists simply don’t have the time to read through essay length pitches.
One of the most important things to consider when pitching a feature story is to be as concise as possible. Brevity is the key to getting your pitch noticed. Most journalists have a short attention span so to transcend this, a pitch must be short, sweet and straight to the point.
2. Have a short yet attention-grabbing subject line
On our platform, MediaHQ allows you to pitch your stories with ease. However, it is up to you to come up with content that will command the attention of the journalist you are pitching to.
One of the most important things to remember if you want your pitch to get noticed is to have a quick and snappy subject line. It is a proven fact that journalists will not continue reading past the subject line if it doesn’t strike their interest. The key to getting a journalists’ undivided attention and to stand out from the torrents of other pitches that may be flooding their inboxes is to have a subject line that they feel compelled to read.
Having an engaging subject line is half the battle; if you fail to articulate a captivating subject line the chances of the rest of your pitch being read is very slim.
3. Be organised
Another key thing to remember before pitching your feature story to the press is to be organised. Make sure that you have all the necessary information prepared for a journalist before you pitch a story to them.
Make sure that you have a seasoned spokesperson for your story in case they are asked to speak on air. Ensure that you have your facts and figures ready to go when a journalist gets in contact with you so your story can be published quickly and efficiently.
Don’t forget to provide details that a journalist can use to correspond with you regarding the story. It is important to ensure that you provide the necessary contact details with which a journalist can easily reach you on to allow for an easy flow of information. Make sure that you also provide times that you are available to speak as there is nothing more annoying than when a person doesn’t pick up their phone when a journalist is trying to seek additional information for a story.
4. Personalise your pitch
Do not make the mistake of sending out a pitch where it is obvious you have not personalised it for the specific journalist you are pitching to. It is genuine bad manners to send out a pitch with a blank space where the recipient’s name should be, otherwise you’re just heading down a one-way street to being ignored.
Here at MediaHQ, our press release distribution platform allows you to include the names of each of the individuals you wish to send your press release to so you have no excuse to get lazy by leaving out a journalists name in your pitch.
5. Be original and knowledgeable
If you know that your story has been covered before by the journalist you’re intending to pitch to, be sure to explain why your news angle is fresh. Know what else has been written on this subject and be sure not to repeat what has already been said.
Make sure to do your research before pitching a feature story to a journalist. It is important that you conduct thorough research into your publications of interest to see which one is the best fit for your feature story. Other things you might consider when doing your research might be a publications format, a journalists area of speciality, their target audiences and their writing style. Based on this, you will be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not a journalist or publication might be interested in your pitch based on its suitability for their platform and the angles they have covered before.
6. “The medium is the message”
For any public relations and communications professional, they will have heard this saying a million times. It is important to consider whether the story you’re pitching is best suited to print, television, or radio. The channel you chose for your story to be publicized on can be just as important as the message itself.
When pitching a feature story, it is important to consider where you want it to appear. For example, different platforms will have a varied readership, so there is no point wasting your time and resources by pitching a feature story to a platform in which your audiences may not see the relevance in it.
Be critical when it comes to choosing a medium. Consider the users of any given platform and whether or not they are the anticipated target audience for your story. Otherwise, your story might get lost in translation if it is pitched to the wrong platform.
7. Maintain consistent relationships
Good communication is the key to cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with journalists, especially if you regularly pitch to the same ones. Establishing good working relationships with journalists is always good, but remember to maintain a level of professionalism and formality in any of your correspondences.
Always be appreciative when a journalist publishes your content. It’s always nice to send a follow-up email to thank them and share the article on your social media handles.
Looking to pitch your own feature story? More than just a Press Release Distribution tool. MediaHQ helps you find journalists, build media lists, distribute press releases and analyse results.
Jack is a media innovator with over 20 years’ experience at the most senior level in the Irish communications industry. He has worked in marketing, journalism, and media relations. He is a former political spokesperson and government advisor, as well as an award-winning corporate PR practitioner.