Pitching to Journalists
05 January 2017

Four tips for pitching to journalists

Pitching your business to consumer or B2B press can be tough. If you don’t plan properly you can spend months wasting your time speaking to journalists who just aren’t interested. Instead, follow our four simple tips and make sure journalists sit up and listen when you have a story to sell.

  1. Study their work and what topics they write about

You’d be surprised how common it is for journalists to receive pitches on sectors they don’t even cover. The first key thing on your checklist is to make sure you’re not wasting your time targeting them with your pitch on the latest innovative piece of health tech when they cover showbiz and gossip.

Next, research your target journalist as much as possible – what topics do they cover, who is their audience and what’s their style like? Really getting to grips with these elements comes through in your pitch and shows you’ve thought about how your story can fit in well and benefit them. Demonstrating you’re willing to go the extra mile by researching them and offering tailored help will encourage the journalist to come to you again in the future.

  1. Personalise your pitch email

Ditch the BCC and the generic ‘hi’ without the journalist’s name. If there’s anything you can do to encourage them to engage with your pitch, always address them by name and make sure your message doesn’t sound like it’s gone out to a thousand other journalists. Long spammy emails are likely to be ignored. Keep it succinct and encapsulate your business story in the first few lines of the email. Most journalists are time-poor, so let them know immediately why they should care about your story – and why it’s perfect for them.

  1. What makes them tick as a person?

A good tactic to build up a more personal relationship with them is to look at their Twitter feed and see what they’re posting about, commenting on, and what their own interests are. This intel can come in handy for including personalised additions to emails, within the right context. Getting to know their hobbies and likes may even lead to a thoughtful gifting, which can tie in well with Christmas and other seasonal hooks. Are there lots of photos of them running, with a recent status saying they’re starting to train for the London Marathon next year? Then perhaps your hot-on-the-market fitness tracker could be a good way for them to get to know what the brand does.

  1. Experiment with timings and different methods of communication

Cracking that hard-to-reach journalist can also be a matter of what time you’re contacting them and how. If he or she isn’t picking up in the morning, try calling in the afternoon when their morning meetings are over – particularly true if you’re pitching to a national. See our recent blog here on more tips for landing coverage with nationals.

You may also find that your journalist never picks up the phone. No worries – try dropping them an email instead. Others may have a never-ending inbox and prefer stories pitched to them over the phone instead, or perhaps an apt tweet. Experiment with these different ways to communicate and one may just elicit a response.

So, there you have it. Try a combination of these tactics and see which yields the best results. And remember – the more you get to know the journalist’s work and tailor your pitch specifically to them, the more likely they are to listen to and engage with your story.