Media Pitching 101: When to Pitch to the Media
The perfect time does exist.
When it comes to pitching to the media, everything must align. The way the pitch is worded, who it is sent to, and at what time it is sent. Sending out your story to the right contact at the right time can make or break your story being picked up. Yes, it’s true, timing can be different for every media contact you are trying to reach out to, but it is up to you to figure out when the perfect time is.
Let’s explore the top tips for pitching at the right time…
Deadlines & Content Calendars:
Reporters, journalists, media reps and industry bloggers all have deadlines and schedules. Based on what you might ask? Content calendars.
Content calendars are used by every major media publication. Whether it be a TV show or newspaper, a content calendar is always utilized. It maps out what needs to be accomplished in the coming days or months. Depending on what is the priorities on the agenda, reporters, producers, and other media contacts will prioritize their work accordingly.
How does this help you? Well, if you have a piece relevant to something they need (found on the content calendar), you can easily pitch your piece to the media contact. This helps them accomplish something off their calendar and puts you on their radar.
The trick is being able to get a hold of a specific media contact’s content calendar. Some media databses offer content calendar views of major publications, TV networks, etc. Another way is by simply looking up the specific calendar of where you are trying to get picked up.
News Has a Lifespan:
The window frame for the perfect news story is very slim.
Let’s say something relevant to your pitch happens today, but your release or pitch is not scheduled to be sent out for another two days. That makes your news, 3 days older than it should be. By the time you pitch your story to the media, your news is old news and has a lower chance of being picked up.
When something relevant happens in your industry, or if you know of an up-and-coming story that will be hitting the cycle, make sure to jump on the opportunity quickly. Waiting around can cause you to miss out.
Just as you would when you first get into work, journalists sort out their emails received overnight/early that morning.
During this process, a majority of emails are deleted and/or set aside to be looked at later…If they have the time. Otherwise, the most appealing ones are taken a look at right away.
If you have a pitch, the likeliness of it being set aside is pretty high. So, instead of sending a pitch early in the morning, only to have it set aside, what are your other options? Send it at a later time! Typically, anywhere from 10am-12pm works best. Journalists, producers, bloggers, and other media contacts have already sorted through their morning emails and will be notified of anything else sent during that time frame.
You’ve Got Competition:
The media is constantly being bombarded with pitches/story ideas. You need to make yourself stand out. The last thing you need is to get lost in a pile of pitches while your competitor’s story gets picked up.
Coming up with interesting ways to stand out can be difficult. Try and see how your competitors have been able to get picked up. Was their story timely? Relevant? It may all relate back to timing when their pitch was sent out.
Make sure to do everything you can to send your pitches during the off-hours. This adds to you standing out and getting ahead of the competition. Step up your game by newsjacking something your competitor has put out, or offer a follow-up comment. Use their news to get your name out there.
Follow these tips the next time you pitch to the media and watch your open and click rates increase, and hopefully coverage. Timing is everything when it comes to media pitching. Don’t be discouraged if your pitches aren’t a total hit, it’s a bit of trial and error the first couple of times around. But, once you find the perfect sweet spot to send that pitch out, you’re in.