5 Tips for Successful Media Pitching

By Amanda Ensinger
May 9, 2019

With so many businesses competing to get placements in the same media outlets, it can be hard to make your pitch stand out from the rest. Whether pitching regional or national outlets, your pitch needs to be top notch in order to succeed.

But how do you achieve this? From the subject line of your initial pitch to the way you follow up, here are five easy tips for successful media pitching:

  1. Update your media list. Before you start pitching, you should make sure you are reaching the right people. Look at your media list to make sure you aren’t missing any key reporters and double-check that any reporters you previously worked with haven’t been assigned to new beats. Do a quick internet search or use your favorite media software (I recommend Cision!) to make sure your list is up-to-date.
  2. Have a compelling subject line. Your subject line should have a call-to-action and should clearly communicate the subject of your pitch. Having a compelling subject line that clearly identifies what you want from reporters is an easy way to get their attention. Reporters get hundreds of emails a week and can’t read them all. Reporters often determine whether they’ll open your email and consider your pitch based on the relevance of your subject line. Make sure it stands out and clearly communicates your message.
  3. Get to the point. Because reporters typically get hundreds of emails a week, it’s almost impossible for them to read every one they receive. Make sure your email is compelling and to the point so that if a reporter opens it, they’ll quickly learn if it’s a topic they’re willing to cover. Once an email has been opened, reporters will usually only spend a few seconds deciding if they want to cover the story. Highlight the most important information in the first few sentences of the email to catch their attention quickly. Pitches should be no more than two or three short paragraphs and provide the reporter with everything they should know to determine if they want to pursue your story idea.
  4. Goodbye attachments. One of the key mistakes PR pros make is attaching images or press releases to pitches. DO NOT do this. With today’s firewalls and added security, many emails with such attachments will never even reach the intended recipient’s email box. Many security features in larger newsrooms are set up to block those types of emails. If your email is lucky enough to make it past the firewall, reporters often won’t open attachments for fear of receiving viruses. Copy and paste your image or press release into the body of your email. Instead, offer to send the files or documents separately after you’ve started corresponding with them. This method is also a great excuse to follow up with them to see if they plan to pursue your story or need additional information.
  5. Remember to follow up. Following up with reporters after your pitch is key to its success. Don’t expect reporters to come to you, you need to go to them. Follow up via email or by phone to ensure they have everything they need for the story. Indicate in the subject line of your follow-up email that you’re following up with a pitch. When you call on the phone, be firm with them. Clearly state why you’re calling, what you want to achieve and be prepared to sell your story even further. Remember, reporters get hundreds of pitches a week so if you want your story to be picked up, out you must put work into it.

By following these easy steps, your pitch has a much better chance of being seen by the right eyes and being covered by top outlets.