The Pitch – What It Should Say, Where To Send It

Have you ever wondered when the best time to approach a journalist is? Or how to convince them to feature you? In the below post I'm sharing what time of the day you should send your pitch and how it should be structured. 

When to send your pitch:

Early morning no later than 8am in the journalist’s time zone. Journalists decide early in the day what story they are going with and tv news crews even earlier. 

How long should the pitch be?

1-2 paragraphs or less. Journalists have to sort through a gazillion pitches every day.

What do I put inside the pitch?

An enticing story angle, an interesting spin.

Instead of a long-winded who, what, when, where approach that a formal press release takes, the pitch is short and sweet. It’s the hook. Remember Day 4’s topic, is your news really news? Click here to see the list again of suggestions to get you started on your pitch. 

Personalize your pitch, super important!

Address the journalist by first name. Refer to an article they wrote that you enjoyed.

Avoid The Hail Mary Pitch

Don’t send mass cut and paste pitches. They are inauthentic and journalists like to feel special. They can also smell a hail mary (mass distribution) from a mile away. For a refresher on how to build your media list, see Day 3’s post here. Your golden nuggets are who you will send your pitch to… individually

Example Pitch Scenario:

The pitch:

Local woman pledges to continuously do jumping jacks on the corner of Broadmoor and 5th to raise awareness for women’s health month. She’s offered free yearlong gym memberships to the first 20 people who join her in jumping and free day passes to anyone who hashtags her business name on Instagram in the next 24 hours. Don’t leave her hanging.

The press release:

The detailed Press Release that went with the above story actually focused on the opening of a fitness studio, owned by woman. It gave the overview of the services, location and opening date. It just so happens that she opened her business the same month as women’s health month so she decided to take advantage of it to get her local news coverage. This was an excellent strategy since her customer demographic is within driving distance of her new studio.

Businesses open all the time so in order to ensure she received news coverage, she took an extra step and created a pitch with a hook that local news channels on a slow news day week were more likely to cover.

For the win

The result? Her name, her business, and video of her news coverage took over the first three pages of Google search when someone Googled ‘fitness’ in her city for years to come. Most businesses pay thousands (at minimum) to do this and have to wait, wait, wait. Two other local news stations picked up the story exposing her to a nightly news audience of 200,000 viewers and an online audience of 72,000 (and growing) when the news stations uploaded it to their websites. And don’t forget she immediately gained 20 loyal brand ambassadors to spread the word about what they won that day to all of their like-minded friends. They will be talking about it for months!

Total cost of the above? $0

She received hundreds of thousands of dollars of publicity that is long lasting simply based on creativity!

I love public relations.

Did you miss yesterday's post on opportunities beyond radio, TV and magazines? Click here to get inspired with a list of other PR strategies.