It’s time your business started making headlines
16/01/2020 - The Bridge Marketing
Hana Dickinson, MD of The Bridge – Strategic Marketing & PR Specialists – and creator of SuffolkWire knows how to catch even the most jaded journalist’s eye, and it all starts with a captivating pitch:
Journalists can’t move for pitches hitting their inboxes. They arrive at their desk in the morning to find a glut of them, and more continue to trickle in throughout the day. Rather than read them, they are simply looking for a good excuse to put them in the trash. Perhaps the headline doesn’t grab them, or the subject isn’t obviously newsworthy.
However, they still rely on unsolicited pitches to help them generate content for their publications, and when they dig out a well-presented pitch, they’re extremely happy. A great pitch with a headline already sketched out, a relevant hook, photography ready to go or easily available, the article practically writes itself. For a journalist with a pile of tight deadlines, this is a life saver. They’ll love you and you’ll love the publicity that a third-party publication can offer you.
So how do you make a journalist love your pitch?
Before you pitch
Write a list of journalists you think might be interested in what you’re offering. Ask yourself three key questions:
- Would this person be interested in this story?
- Is my story relevant to this publication/website?
- Is this story relevant now?
If the answer to to all three is yes, then it’s time to write that pitch.
Make it short and snappy, for a start (ideally around 28-39 characters) and tell them you’re offering a free idea (write ‘story idea’ in the subject line). Also, are you providing an exclusive? If so, then tell them up front too.
After that, you’ve got to get creative.
- A good subject header should evoke curiosity, e.g. Why the Titanic sequel will never happen
- Appealing to the emotions is also a good way to go, e.g. Here’s how to stand up to your boss
Get a concise, intriguing subject line in the bag and you’re already head(ers) and shoulders above those competing press releases.
If you must, drop some nice words in about the journalist’s work, but only if you mean it, or you have a personal relationship with them. If not, get straight to the point… would you be interested in a story about my charity fun day? That kind of thing is fine.
After that, sink your hook in. By hook we mean a very good reason why an editor would want to run this story at this time, e.g. Ransomware has dominated the news recently, with several high-profile businesses getting stung. We’ve developed a security package that can keep those cyber criminals at bay.
Things to keep in mind
- Use simple language. Even complicated things should be explained using simple words. Avoid the five-dollar words, as Mark Twain would say
- Give them plenty of white space. Short paragraphs of a few sentences and no more than three or four paragraphs is ideal
- Have you thought about photography? Because having photos ready to go is always a good thing for journalists and encourages them to go for your story
The final word(s)
Give them a time limit in which to respond. This allows you to place the story elsewhere without further correspondence should you get no reply – and include all your contact details so they can easily reach you.
If you want an expert to generate pitches and other marketing ideas for you – please get in touch.
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