The Bare Essentials of Pitching to the Media
Women’s Venture Fund
While the NY metro area media is a tough nut to crack, you can get your piece of the action. Like any other goal you have set for your business you must be strategic; become familiar with the basics of pitching will set you on the path to garnering free publicity for your business. Here’s what WVF recommends:
Know your audience Find the journalists and bloggers who are working in your field. Never just blanket the editorial staff of a newspaper or broadcast outlet with your pitch—it’s a lazy approach that annoys busy journalists.
Take the time to find out exactly how to submit a story to a particular publication by checking its website section on “Editorial Policy” or “Submissions” and follow the instructions to a tee.
While your targeted audience may be journalists, bloggers or broadcasters, keep this in mind: The media has its own audience and is solely focused on what that demographic wants to hear about—the one story of the many received in a single day which would resonate with readers or viewers.
Ideally you should get to know local journalists and bloggers before you even make a pitch. You can…
Follow your targeted media personalities on social media. Contribute to the conversations and show your expertise so that you make a favorable impression. This makes it easier to approach them about publicizing your story. Engage often, be respectful and, by all means, use impeccable English. If writing is not your forte, find someone to handle this piece of your public relations project.
- Read the articles and posts of your targeted journalists and bloggers; become familiar with their views and interests. Set google alerts to keep up with what they are doing and saying online.
- Attend local events, including tradeshows, to get to know the journalists you will later target with your pitch. While a face-to-face exchange is ideal, it’s not easy to pull off. But think how much smoother your introduction would be if you’re already following them on social media and are familiar with their body of work.
Know the difference between an advertisement and a story
You only have seconds to grab the attention of a busy journalist. Don’t come on like an advertiser or salesperson. Everyone loves a story. While there is no denying that some stories are compelling and others are not, there are ways of telling your story that can get attention…
- Be outrageous, quirky, funny or even controversial. Opening your story with something startling certainly makes someone read on.
- Be brief in telling your business story: What need do you fulfill…what personal experience brought you to entrepreneurship…
what are your outstanding business achievements…notable clients?
- Make it crystal clear how people will benefit from your product or service. Articulate your unique selling point (USP). If you’re
scratching your head at this point, wondering what that USP could possibly be, you’re probably not ready to pitch to the media.
Pitching to a magazine
All the ‘rules’ above apply but In addition, always check the editorial calendar and find an angle based on the themes the publication is featuring. Just another way to position your pitch top of mind of your media target.
Want to learn from pros? Register for Be Your Own Publicist: Learn How to Pitch Your Business to the Media.