Want to boost your brand’s visibility this year or position yourself as a go-to expert in your field (or maybe both)? A couple of months ago, I attended a fabulous event in which two prominent (in DC) journalists shared their tips on how to effectively pitch them. Combined with my own experience, I put together a sure-fire list on how to build relationships with journalists and bloggers:
Don’t be shy
Journalists and bloggers need stories. They want to hear from you, so don’t be afraid of following them on Twitter, emailing them, or even calling them on the phone.
Choose your time to pitch
TV news stories have to be ready by 1:30pm to make the evening news. Pitch a TV news reporter first thing in the morning, and if you are pitching a super timely story, make yourself available for interviews.
If you are pitching a print/digital journalist or blogger, earlier in the week tends to be better (depending on when digital issues publish).
Angle your pitch
News journalists love three kinds of stories: something tied to a hot news topics; human interest (puppies and kids – really); and exclusives. If you can angle your pitch to fit one of those categories, you’re more likely to make the news.
Bloggers and print journalists also need a sharp angle for their story – one that is tied to their beat but not exactly the same as another story they just wrote. They need fresh ideas, too!
Choose your time to pitch
Pitch via email, as journalists and bloggers check their email first thing every morning just like anyone else. If you pitch via a handwritten note or product sample, it will definitely stand out.
Following up on your pitch is perfectly fine, so don’t hesitate to do so. Just don’t veer into pest territory.
Be to-the-point and helpful
Keep pitches super short and to the point. Include links in your pitch, but do not include large files, photos, or press kits. If you have photos or videos a journalist or blogger can use, definitely let them know.
Skip the formality
Don’t pitch with a press release – journalists and bloggers do not read them, and they definitely don’t use the quotes in them.
Pitch future story ideas
If you have a story idea for something that is a few months out, go ahead and pitch it now. It gives a journalist or blogger time to develop the story and get it on their schedule.
Don’t pitch a finished piece
Resist sending a finished article or blog post; journalists and bloggers like to shape the story.
Starting with smaller, local publications is a smart way to get noticed. News journalists read the local news for story ideas!
Do it yourself
You don’t need a PR firm to pitch journalists for you. It only takes a few minutes to make a phone call or send an email, but if you don’t feel comfortable reach out, ask someone on your team to do it for you.