How To Pitch To Reporters
After attending a recent PRSA seminar featuring a panel of reporters and editors, I realized something important. When it comes to pitching to journalists, there are no set rules. One prefers phone calls, another wants emails, and — dare I say it — a third admitted to reading a press release that was actually mailed to him! There are no short cuts; you really have to get to know each individual reporter’s style and preferences. To do this, read their publications and online content and familiarize yourself with what their subject matter expertise. Reporters and editors will respect your pitch if you can show them you’ve done your homework.
Wondering when to call? Perhaps it’s better to learn when NOT to call. Ask when your media contacts must turn in their stories, then call an hour or so after their deadline. For print media, this is usually in the afternoon, and for our local weeklies, that tends to be on Tuesday, but they can continue working until late Tuesday. For the weeklies and community newspapers, try and reach them any other day, unless it’s breaking news, then go ahead and make the call.
To build relationships with reporters who may cover your story, Deigh suggests pitching to freelance writers. Freelance writers are an excellent resource because they rarely get pitched and are always looking for new angles and stories. Another approach is to call the publication’s newsroom, and ask the person who answers who would be the best person to whom you should send your information.