Taking your PR strategy up a notch? Look no further than media pitches. Landing your name and ideas in the media—local, regional, national, or niche—could be just the spark that ignites your strategy’s success. Once you learn to write a media pitch, this is a skill that will serve you time and time again. To help you get started, we’ve put together a guide to refer to as you write your first pitch.
First, what is a media pitch?
A media pitch is essentially a letter that tells a media outlet why they should share your story with their audience. To pitch a story, you will craft a concise, eye-catching email that convinces your recipient that you have something valuable to add to their content rotation.
Use these three criteria when choosing a story to pitch.
Media pitches are never random, mass emails that you should send at any given time. You can take that route, of course, but your topic is not likely to be picked up. Pitches are best when they meet three criteria:
1. Timely—Identify stories that are fitting with what’s going on around you. This could be based on current events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, or it could be based on occasions such as holidays or community events. These are merely examples, but it’s crucial to note that your media pitch will be more likely to be noticed if your story is time-appropriate.
2. Relevant—Relevance is also important because, let’s face it, you don’t want to read a news story that isn’t relevant to you in some way. Choose a story that your audience will find useful, informative, or entertaining.
3. Unique—At the end of the day, you are competing for the media’s attention. They want stories that are timely and relevant, but they are also looking for an idea that stands out from the pack. If you are one of ten emails that has a similar story or angle, it’s less likely that yours will be chosen. Choose a topic that will shine in a sea of boring pitches.
How to Plan and Craft Your Pitch
Choose your outlets.
Research media outlets that share your audience. What message are you sending, and who do you hope sees it? Ask yourself those questions as you’re doing your research. Keep in mind that the media is now more expansive than ever before. You can choose media channels that are as broad or specific as you’d like, based on your audience.
Identify a specific person to pitch to.
The more specific you can make your pitch, the better. Identify a specific reporter or journalist that you’re pitching to, and see what they’ve written in the past. Appeal to them by calling them by name in your pitch and referencing a past story of theirs that you particularly enjoyed, and why. This approach helps you to stand out from the crowd and shows them that you aren’t sending a mass email to thousands of reporters with the same story.
Choose your topic.
Select a topic that will appeal to the media outlets you’re pitching to, as well as the person or persons. We can’t remind you of those three criteria enough: timely, relevant, and unique. Those are the stories that will pop out at your recipient. If you have multiple topics that you feel strongly about, feel free to pitch more than one.
Write your pitch.
This is a big statement, right? We’ve shared a sample media pitch email below to help put the important elements into context.
Good afternoon, Robert!
As a remote worker myself, your series on virtual teams has been a great addition to my week. I recently read your article What lies ahead for remote marketing companies? and loved the way you highlighted the pros and cons of virtual teams. It was incredibly relatable.
Your source, Alice Knightly, made an interesting point: “It’s important to trust your employees as you decide whether to keep an office or to move to remote work—maybe it’s even somewhere in the middle.” Overall, companies are seeing that their employees are more satisfied and productive when they have the flexibility to work remotely, and we’ve recently conducted a survey of 5,000 people that illustrates this.
I would love an opportunity to discuss the survey with you, as I believe that your audience will find our results surprising and helpful. You will find further details about the survey attached to this email. Please do not hesitate to reach out via email or by phone at (555) 555-5555.
Thank you for your time.
Notice how we made the pitch unique to the person and appealed to their past work? This topic will be a compelling addition to Robert’s series on virtual teams.
Always Follow Up
Your best chance to receive a positive response, or any response at all, will be with your follow-up email. Give your recipient a few days to shuffle through their email and see what story ideas they’ve gotten, and then send a follow-up to keep your name at the top of their inbox. A good rule of thumb is to send another email one week after your original pitch. If it is time-sensitive, however, use your best judgment and reach out three to four days later instead.
We’ve shared an example of a good follow-up email below.
Good afternoon, Robert!
I hope you’re having a great week. Last Tuesday, I sent you details on a survey my company conducted of 5,000 people who are working from home. This survey reveals the effects of remote work on teams across the country, and I think this would be a great addition to your virtual-teams series.
Please let me know if you would like to discuss this topic in more detail!
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Do you need help pitching your ideas to the media? We can help you identify the stories and media channels that will reach your target audience. Contact Green Apple Strategy to schedule a consultation.