How To Make An Impression When Pitching Your Story Idea To Reporters

There are many ways to make an impression when pitching your story idea to reporters. The real question is whether the impression will be a good one or a bad. Here are a few ways to make a positive one. We will look at email and phone pitching in turn.


Email Pitches

  1. Pay attention to the subject line of your email.

Think of it as a headline that will entice them to read more.

  1. Always put their address in the “To” field.

This shows it is a customized email.

  1. NEVER put their address in the BCC

This will make it look like it’s mass-produced.

  1. Keep it short.

Everyone is busy these days, but journalists live and die by deadlines. Keep it short and to the point, no more than 6 sentences in 2 paragraphs. Write tightly and be sure to answer the unspoken question of, “How can this help me, and my readers?”

  1. Don’t add images or any attachments.

Attachments of any kind, but particularly images, will often trigger spam and security filters. This means your carefully crafted email will rarely be seen because it’s been snagged and dumped in the spam folder.

  1. Mention that you have supporting materials.

Send them to ONE URL if you wish to show them anything in particular that you think would be interesting enough for them to get excited by and want to use as part the story.


  1. Dare to phone.

Many people send their pitches via email. They might not be delivered, however, and they are often sent to the trash with just a click. Phoning will grab their attention. Just make sure it is a good way.

  1. Practice your pitch until you have it down pat.

Think of it as an ‘elevator speech’ you use for marketing. Say what you have to say in a normal speed and speaking voice in 30 seconds or less.

  1. Be brief.

If you get a live person, tell them in a couple of words why you’re calling. Then ask if they have time to talk.

  1. Respond appropriately depending on their answer.

If they say yes, give the ‘elevator speech’ pitch. If they say no, say that you understand they’re probably on deadline and ask if they would like to call you back when it’s convenient.

  1. Respect their reply.

If they say no, thank them anyway and say you hope they’ll consider other pitches from you in the future. If they say they will call but don’t, try again once more.

  1. Follow up but don’t hound them.

If you don’t get them after the first try and don’t hear from them after a reasonable amount of time, like a day or so, try again. Judge this best by how long you have until any important date you might be working around, such as a launch date. Too far ahead, there’s no urgency. Too close to the time, it might be too late for them to give you any press coverage.

  1. Try email.

If you are sure your journalist is a good fit because you have done your research well, it could be they would prefer an email. In this case, try it. The opposite is true as well. If you’re your press release is exactly the kind of thing they usually write about, pick up the phone.

Use these methods and see if they give you the kinds of results you are looking for without spend hours or making an idiot of yourself as you blunder along and do all of the things you’re not supposed to do when pitching to journalists.

Call us today to speak to one of our PR specialists: 1-800-713-7278

Anthony Santiago is Director of Marketing at Newswire. With over a decade of experience in PR, he helps ensure that clients understand the value of brand messaging and reach.

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