The success of pitching clients to media outlets varies hugely. Sometimes all the research and the effort that has gone into a pitch doesn’t alter the fact that it falls on deaf ears. It can be a good story, relevant to the media you are pitching it to and interesting to their audiences; but it still won’t get in. Unfortunately there is no magic formula to a successful pitch, but there are some key guidelines which will maximise your chances of getting something into the media – the rest I’m afraid, is down to luck:
Tailor your pitches. Don’t send out mass emails. Every single one doesn’t have to be completely unique but at the very least top and tail your pitch accordingly. Sometimes you get an outright “no”, but other times it falls into the abyss of unwanted emails.
Pitch to the relevant person. Make sure you email it to the correct person – sending emails to generic email addresses is fairly pointless.
Follow up with a telephone call. People are harder to ignore than emails. Phone up the relevant person and alert them to your email and re-pitch it on the telephone explaining things in more detail.
Timing is crucial. This is difficult because the news agenda can change within a matter of minutes, but what you can do is check to see what’s being broadcast and printed. If there are big events coming up like the Olympics then don’t expect to get anything into the media.
Be patient. Something which is not my strong point, but patience does help. If a reporter is busy it might take them a while to get back to you, so don’t be tempted to send five emails in two days and demand a response.
Where’s the story? It’s essential to pitch something which is a story. Clients often think their news is a story, but something which is news to them may not translate to the media – it’s your job to manage their expectations.
Don’t assume publication. Even if your pitch is accepted it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be published or aired. This can be down to a number of things, like for example, a changing news agenda.