Your company is doing ground-breaking work and you want to generate media interest. You are sending email after email to reporters at publications that you feel should be super interested in your latest news—but no response!
We know how it feels. Don’t get discouraged; your product is really awesome and will get the attention it deserves.
A few tweaks in your approach can make a world of a difference. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when pitching to the media.
Mistake #1: You’re pitching the first contact you find
Three words: Do your research. There’s nothing worse than sending a pitch about a new technology to a reporter that writes about parenting tips. Scour the publication’s website for a reporter directory.
Once you narrow it down to a few contacts, take a look at their recent coverage. This helps to ensure your topic aligns well with his or her “beat.” Be sure to reference those articles in your pitch as well to show that you’ve done your research. The next step you’ll want to take once you send a pitch via email is to pick up the phone and call your contact directly, reiterating your recent note. Wait two or three days after your phone call to send a follow-up email.
Mistake #2: Your email note is too generic
Journalists receive hundreds and hundreds of pitches each week from people just like you who think they have an incredible news story worth sharing. Chances are, many do! However, if conveyed incorrectly, it could affect the possibility of getting a response.
Set your pitch apart from the others or your note will be buried in an inbox.
Double-check that your pitch has the correct email address. You don’t want to address the note to Paul when your email is actually ending up in Robyn’s inbox. Sending customized messages to each reporter is extremely important. Yes, it can elongate the amount of time it takes to distribute your news, but reporters can easily identify a generic pitch. Your news stays the same but making a connection with each contact individually is worthwhile.
Mistake #3: Your pitch has turned into a novel
Short and sweet is key! Your pitch should be concise, succinct, and vibrant. Try to keep your note between three and four paragraphs in length. There’s a delicate balance between revealing all of the key attributes of the announcement and leaving room for suspense. Ideally, the reporter would respond to your note seeking additional information. That’s when you know you’ve piqued their interest.
Mistake #4: Is that a spelling error?
Think about it. You’re pitching to people who write for a living. Give your email a proofread to ensure you’ve caught any mistakes before hitting send. Reading an email aloud helps to decipher the tone of your message and verifies that it flows nicely.
Mistake #5: You forgot about the person behind the email
Lastly, keep in mind that reporters are people, too. They are passionate about their work and take pride in delivering news that directly impacts their readers. Respect their time, but don’t give up! If you need to move on to another reporter within the same publication, feel free to do so! Just try not to pitch them both at the same time.