Things to know when pitching a story

Everyday journalists are inundated with pitches from business owners and PR professionals looking to get their products and services features in an article. They are fighting for a spot in the limelight because media exposure is a great way to introduce your product or service to the public. However, of the many pitches that journalists receive only a selected few make it onto the pages of their media outlet.

Pitching is an art form that requires hard work, attention to detail and creativity. So, if you want to craft a winning media pitch that catches a journalist’s attention, then it requires much more than just drafting a generic email. Here are a few tips for getting journalists to pay attention to your pitch:

Know what the journalist has written about recently

Understand what the journalist writes about. Go in depth into his or her recent stories. It’s not enough just to look at the most recent story and pitch something related to that. Sometimes that strategy might backfire, since the journalist might not be interested in writing about that particular topic again. Don’t assume one article is the sum of his or her interests. Get a holistic taste of the journalist by analyzing the sum of his or her recent stories.

A bold tactic to grab a journalist’s attention is to offer a perspective that the journalist may not have considered or ignored in his or her former work. Different points of view on a similar topic will make him or her stand up and pay attention.

Know the journalist’s interests

While it might not be important to know that a journalist enjoys long walks on the beach, it definitely helps to know things and topics that a journalist is interested in. There are tidbits of information that you can retrieve from just reading his or her articles, for example – what sports or athletes he or she likes, or if he or she enjoys reading, cycling or watching political thrillers.

It is common for writers to add a personal touch to their work, so pay attention to the little comments and nuances in their articles that give away bits and pieces of their personality. Use this to your advantage to grab their attention. Start your pitch email telling them about a similar interest you share.

Focus on what you know, not what you do

Let’s face it – profile pieces can be quite plain and boring. Unless you’re business has an incredibly amazing out-of-the-ordinary story, it is advisable to pitch stories based on what you know. For example, if you’re a start-up, pitch a piece about things you learned about getting financed. If you’ve developed a product, share insights on your failures in the beginning and how you overcome them. If you’re a company entering a new market, enlighten your audience on how you make yourself stand out from your competitors. The best articles are the ones that are reflective of your experiences, challenges, successes, mistakes and lessons learned along the way.