The media pitch is a fine balance of information and persuasion. It requires you to know who you’re writing to, specifically, and what you have to offer them. And because you’re vying for the attention of a media channel, you probably have some serious competition. That means your pitch needs to be as effective as possible, and one false step could mean a “no thank you” from the outlet.
You probably already have a good idea about what to include in your pitch. You should include the story, the audience, your following and so on. But what about the things you shouldn’t include? In this article, we take a look at some of the big mistakes people make, and what you should leave out of your media pitch.
#1 Another Publication’s Coverage Of Your News Or Story
You absolutely don’t want to tell any media representative that they’re not the first to get your story. Journalists want to be the first to cover information and if they’re not, then you have to pitch the story idea to them in a new way. You will undoubtedly turn off a reporter or journalist if you mention that the story has already been covered anywhere else. You’ll not only lose their attention for this pitch, you may lose credibility with them altogether.
#2 Irrelevant Information
Your pitch should be highly targeted and present only the information that the journalist or reporter needs to know. That means unless the information is directly relevant to your story, leave it out. You can tell them about your company’s charitable causes, financial growth, or your CEO’s track record later. If it’s not part of the story, it’s not important to share in the pitch. Your pitch needs to be short and to the point. You are competing for time and attention. You’ll earn respect from the media if you are direct.
#3 Marketing Fluff
Finally, make sure that your pitch isn’t a marketing piece. Stick to the facts and answer the questions that a journalist or media representative needs, and wants, to know. The 5 W’s are an easy way to make sure you keep it in check. Provide the who, what, when, why and where. Eliminate any taglines, adjectives, and claims. A pitch isn’t a marketing piece, it’s a proposal – and if you approach it that way (and keep in mind the value of your story) then you will stay on track.
It should go without saying that your pitch should be newsworthy. If it isn’t, or you’re unsure, then don’t pitch. Wait until you have something newsworthy to promote. The folks on your media outreach list will appreciate it and you’ll develop much stronger relationships with the media faster. And your story ideas will not fall on deaf ears.