7 Tips To Get Journalists Interested In Your Pitch

By Mariana Morena

Not every story idea suggested by a press office is actually a pitch or will even catch the journalists’ attention. Most of journalists receive hundreds of emails with daily press releases and most of them go straight to spam or the trash can. For this reason, we have come up with some useful tips on how to get the journalist interested in your pitch.

You have eight seconds

With increasing demands, journalists are always busy. You have about eight seconds before the journalist clicks the delete button. Make those seconds worthwhile and think carefully about the information that you are going to pitch or put in the release.

The subject is very important

Six of those eight seconds will be spent reading the subject, so you really need to focus most of your efforts an interesting subject. Eight out of every ten press releases are not even opened because the subject didn’t catch the journalist’s attention. Think of the tempting headlines of Buzzfeed that make us click on it, without even thinking if that’s really worth our time. Make it your subject. The title is your best chance to get the journalist’s attention.

Stay casual

Don’t use “Mr.” or “Mrs.”. Don’t use “to whom it may concern”. Use “Hi” or “Hello” and the first name of the reporter. But be careful not to go beyond the limits of informality. Writing things like “what’s up dude?” will sound corny and is simply inappropriate. Remember that the journalist is not your friend (unless they really are!).

Do your homework

Save a few minutes of your day to read what the journalist covers. It’s nice to show the journalist that you know their work by saying something like: “I read your article and I thought this story would be perfect for you and your audience”.

Why should I care about the journalist’s audience?

If you cannot answer this question to the journalist in two sentences or less, then they will not be able to pitch the story to their editors. Help the journalist with what they need to fight for your story in an editorial meeting.

What are you offering?

Don’t forget to have the essentials: Who, what, where, when and how. Help the journalist to tell their story, making it easier for them. Your contacts and your clients will thank you.

Do you really have a story?

Think like a journalist. Do you really have a story? If you were a journalist for that publication, would you publish anything about it? Would you write about that client or company? Would you mention the name of the product or company? This last question may be essential when contacting or not that media outlet. Sometimes the client doesn’t want to be published in media outlets that don’t mention the name of the company, so don’t waste your time, the journalist’s or your client’s time. Talk to other publications that are more related to this story.