InsightsPOSTED April 26, 2014

How to get reporters to actually read your pitches

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How to get reporters to actually read your pitches

“Dear John, Hope all is well.”

With those few words your sincerity is gone, you have lost a reporter’s attention, and your e-mail may already have been sent to their junk box. We do our industry a disservice when we formulate a media list blanket pitch and hope something sticks.

That’s not the APEX approach. Our strategy is to take the time to research and review each reporter’s beat and writing style, and then address them personally, noting why our pitch might resonate.

Here are a few simple steps to follow to establish dialogue with reporters, pitch great story ideas, and end up with direct results for your clients.

1. Do your research

Identify with the reporter/journalist you are reaching out too. Check out their profile, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts.

2. Introduce yourself

Provide context: who are you, how long you’ve been in the business, and what your niche is. Start a relationship, the same way you would in person.

3. Show your smarts

Do your own investigating into who you are pitching. Read/review a reporter’s prior coverage and identify their beat, show the connection between the story you’re pitching and things the reporter has covered in the past. Make sure your pitch is concise, focused and easy to read and understand. Provide good stats and research, and always read it once, twice, three times (then read it again).

4. Close with a Q

Don’t leave your pitch open-ended. End with a question, whether it’s asking if they have further questions or need more information or simply asking if this topic is of interest. You want to hear back, so the ask is key.

5. Follow up by phone

You’ve taken step one in making the connection, now don’t hide behind your computer — reach out the old-fashioned way. The best connections are through conversation and idea-sharing.

We have evidence that this strategy works. Last fall, APEX initiated a creative health and wellness national media campaign around a new product launch for one of our longstanding clients. We took a more personalized approach by travelling directly to media’s offices for desk side briefings.

In addition, we shared creative personalized mailers and tailored e-mail notes. This approach secured over 15 million media impressions (and counting). We far exceeded our client’s expectations — it was a true agency win!

Icing on the cake: we also received positive feedback and appreciation from our media friends thanking us for our targeted approach and assistance with their stories.

So next time you’re ready to press send on a pitch, do a quick gut check:

  • Have you made a connection and personalized your approach?
  • Would you want to read your pitch?

If the answer is yes, then away it goes. Good luck!

Martha Grant is a Senior Media Strategist at APEX Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter.

Want your campaign to reach the eyeballs of Canada’s top journalists? Email us.