So you’ve got a story to tell and you need to get the message out. It can seem an impossible feat…navigating the hundreds of media contacts, understanding their niche, and piecing together the right angle. I’ve been around the block with pitching and in some ways it never gets easier. Why? Because it’s constantly changing! Throw bloggers into the mix and it’s enough to make even the most media savvy guru go running for the nearest patio.
Rather than claim defeat, try digging into the psyche of media and bloggers to understand what makes them tick. Then get to crafting a pitch that will catch their eye. Following these rules will help get you started:
Rule #1: Do your research
Before you reach out to media or bloggers, read their past stories, blog posts and follow them on Twitter. This is key to understanding the topics they write about, the tone of their stories and the angles they tend to pursue. In some cases, particularly with bloggers, they even post pitching guidelines for PR people directly on their site.
Rule #2: Ditch the cookie cutter approach
Mainstream media and bloggers don’t march by the beat of the same drum. A cookie cutter, impersonalized pitch is bound to fail. You will most definitely need to craft several customized pitches to ensure the right angle reaches the right person. Here’s how to break it down:
Mainstream media are journalists with hard deadlines to meet and an editor to please. It’s their job….they’ve been around the block and seen it all. They want news and a strong angle that fits their niche.
Bloggers are incredibly passionate about their blog. They can write about whatever they want because they have no editorial guidelines to follow—it’s all up to them! They have softer, flexible deadlines. Their stories are honest, real and relatable.
Rule #3: Get to the point…and fast!
Your story should be very clear within the first few sentences of your pitch—particularly for mainstream media who are time and resource starved. What’s the hook? What do you want from them and what can you offer to make the story work?
Rule#4: Make it worth their while
Bloggers love to review the products or experiences you are pitching. And if they love it, they may even want to give it away to readers on their blog. So be prepared to offer up the goods. For mainstream media, offering something exclusive might do the trick. This could be a spokesperson, data, contests, product, images or anything else that might give them a story no one else will have.
Rule #5: Don’t be too formal
The goal for any PR person is to build relationships with media and bloggers. So get personal with them, be professional without being too formal, and treat the pitch as an opportunity to start a conversation. Maybe your story just isn’t right for them now, but at least you’ve planted the relationship seed for the future.
If you’ve followed these rules and your pitch is still falling flat, let’s connect. I’ll come out and meet you on the nearest patio.
A leader in the Canadian public relations industry, Andrea Lekushoff has more than two decades of experience as a communications strategist and trusted advisor for some of the world’s most respected brands. Email Andrea