How to be pitch perfect this Christmas

07.12.18 Pitch Perfect

Unless you’re the Grinch, everyone loves Christmas carols and Christmas music, but no one likes to hear someone singing off-pitch.

This is also true for media relations. Pitching well is so important. If you know exactly how to pitch to the media not only do you get your story covered and covered well, but you build up good relationships with media professionals.

We have some top tips to make sure your Christmas tales get covered:

Find the right people

One of the biggest complaints from journalists is that too many PR professionals just have them on a list that never gets edited, resulting in them getting bombarded with irrelevant stories time and time again.

Before approaching a journalist with a story idea, make sure you know their beat inside out. It takes seconds to Google their name and see what topics they cover. Look back at previous articles and make sure they haven’t just covered a similar story. Equally, don’t offer them story ideas that won’t suit their publication.

Demonstrate how the story is relevant to their audience. This should be summed up in one or two sentences. Imagine this is the line the journalist will deliver at the editorial meeting that decides whether or not you’re going to get media coverage.

If your story isn’t newsworthy, don’t pitch it

Journalists are in the business of sharing stories and information with the public, so your idea has to adhere to common news values.

If there is no hook, there is no pitch. Focus on telling a story, not promoting a product.

Concentrate on the subject line

You should put most of your creative efforts into drafting the subject line because it will make or break your pitch. Remember, deadline-driven journalists receive hundreds of emails every day and most of them go unopened if it doesn’t catch their attention immediately.

In a matter of seconds, a journalist on the receiving end of your email will decide whether or not your pitch is worth looking at.

Your subject line should be clear and to-the-point. A lengthy subject line could get cut short in their inbox or bore the reader—the equivalent of a trap door swallowing you up mid-sentence.

Click here to download our eBook for some more pitching tips from Ireland’s top journalists.

Get to the point

The best pitches sum things up in 20 words or fewer, so get to the point—quick.

Make it personal

Journalists want exclusive stories, so when you are opening your message, address them by their first name with a quick and casual salutation.

If you’re writing “Hi news editor” or “Hey media professional” we’re going to stop you in your tracks right now. It stinks of spam and you can be sure it won’t impress the journalist. They will presume you have sent the same pitch to dozens of other contacts and won’t be interested.

Include a call to action

Your job is to make the process as easy as possible for a journalist to tell your story. End your pitch with an invitation to take the next step, such as “If you’re interested, I can set up an interview with X.”

Remember, journalists work to deadlines, so make sure you are ready to field questions or set up an interview with a press contact as soon as you have made your pitch.

MediaHQ users get access to the contact details of over 6,000 journalists, as well as all the latest media changes and updates. Get in touch with us here and we can help you transform your media coverage.