What is a media pitch?
Simply put, a media pitch is an attempt to get a journalist/editor or media outlet interested in your news so that they decide to cover it.
Almost always, a media pitch is done by email, but it’s also possible to do it via social platforms, telephone, or traditional mail.
Before you write your media pitch
Before you begin: Journalists and editors and flooded with press releases and various other demands on their time and attention.
Based on research from Fractl, 46.5% of journalists receive at least 11 pitches per day, while 28.64% receive over 26 pitches per day.
Knowing what to include in your media pitch—and what to leave out—will greatly improve your chances of getting a reply.
1) Make sure your story is newsworthy
If you want to get someone to cover your story, it’s worth asking yourself these two questions before you even think about pitching the media:
- Is my news actually newsworthy?
- Is my news presented in an exciting way that people will get people interested?
If it’s not, it might be worth waiting until you have something that is actually newsworthy. Otherwise, or you could make a bad first impression with the media contacts you send your press release to.
What makes a newsworthy story?
According to socialmediasydney.net.au, you should consider the following:
- Is the story new and current?
- Does it feature an element of prominence?
- Does it evoke an emotional response?
- Will your story affect or have an impact on certain people?
- Is your story relevant to the area/publication you are pitching it to?
Amber Mac, entrepreneur, and bestselling author sums this up perfectly:
“The fact that your company exists or your CEO will be in town does not make a story.”
2) Make sure you’re pitching to relevant media contacts
In the media, individual journalists have their own specializations (referred to as a “beat”). Instead of sending your pitch to the general email address of a news outlet, it is best to address it to the person most relevant to the subject you’re writing about. In other words: make sure you’re knocking on the right doors before you start knocking.
Example: If you’re a business that’s launching a new tech product and you’re reaching out to a magazine like WIRED, you’ll find out that every reporter there has their own specialization, such as drones, cell phones, or cloud computing. In this case, the right thing to do would be to reach out to the person that writes about products like yours, instead of pitching to someone that generally covers technology.
7 Media pitch examples from real PR experts
To give you the best media pitch examples, we reached out to various PR professionals. What we received in return were real examples of their favorite media pitches that have gotten them press coverage.
Some information has been blanked out for privacy reasons.
Rudi Davis, Chief Operating Officer @ NetPositiveAgency
The first media pitch example is from Rudi, COO of NetPositiveAgency.
Rudi leverages the expertise of his client and offers expert insights on the topic that reporter coverages.
Instead of preposing just one topic, Rudi gives the pitch recipient to choose from three in-depth topics, increasing the chance of success.
Mary Brynn Millburn, Senior Public Relations Coordinator @ Idea Grove
This second media pitch example from Mary Brynn Millburn shows the importance of offering value. Take note how the reporter is offered expert commentary and fresh information from the CEO of the company hoping to get coverage.
Sarah Jenne, PR Specialist @ Idea Grove
In Sarah’s example, she takes advantage of the fact that she’s previously connected with this specific reporter, reminding him/her of their already established relationship.
Ana Casic, responsible for media relations and PR @ TalentLMS
Ana Casic from TalentLMS send us this media pitch on remote work. She started the conversation by mentioning already published articles on the same topic, and offered new & original research (offering value!) that could be used for a new post.
Matthew Zajechowski, Outreach Team Lead and Content Marketing Promotions Specialist @ Digital Third Coast Internet Marketing
Similar to the previous example, Matthew’s media pitch is another example of giving value by offering an original report on a topic that was newsworthy at the time.
The results? Over 250+ unique placements all who’ve linked back to this page for this campaign using this specific pitch.
Corinne McCarthy, SEO & Online PR Specialist @ Web Talent Marketing
Here is a media pitch example that earned a placement on CNBC’s website (cnbc.com) for a client of Web Talent Marketing.
The writer we pitched ended up connecting us with a reporter at CNBC. The reporter interviewed our client’s Content Manager. A few weeks later, CNBC published a feature article about the career path we pitched and quoted our client throughout the article.
Corinne added that the key elements of this pitch are:
- Addresses the writer by name twice so he/she knows this is not an automated email.
- Mentions a recent article that relates to the topic you’re pitching.
- Includes a brief description of the angle you’re pitching and why it’s relevant to the publication.
Rachel Nelson, Public Relations & Events Manager at Margaux Agency
The last media pitch example from Rachel Nelson offers value by offering valuable content that could be useful for a new article that’s not only original, but also exclusive.
How to follow up your media pitch effectively
Even if you did everything correctly, there’s a chance you won’t get a reply. It makes you start wondering:
- Did the journalist get my email?
- Did it get opened or was it lost in the sea of other media pitches?
- Was my pitch so bad that it got posted online for everyone to laugh at?
Just kidding. Journalists are busy people; it could be that they were simply busy and didn’t get to check their inbox yet.
Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean you should move on just yet.
How many times should you follow up your media pitch?
As a general rule, you shouldn’t email someone more than three times in a row without success. If you subtract the first email, that leaves you with two follow-up attempts for your pitch. Give at least a few days between each email.
Protip: If you’re using a PR outreach tool like Prowly to pitch media contacts you can view which recipients received, opened and clicked on your email. This lets you easily segment your follow-up message in to groups and tailor your message based on if they’ve opened your email—or not.
When you do follow up, keep in mind the following:
- Be polite; respect the fact that a journalist may not be interested in your story
- Be concise and to the point; keeping the above point in mind, politely re-ask if they’re interested or if you can provide any extra details
- Be prepared – if you do get a positive reply make sure you have any extra information they might need or a flexible schedule if they’re like to interview you for more details
A media pitch can be crafted in many different ways, with PR experts often having their own preferred method. Nonetheless, the fundamentals of writing a successful pitch remain the same.
Follow the tips and examples in this post and tailor them to your news. With a bit of time and experimentation, you’ll find what works and what doesn’t.