I was a guest for an online chat with the savvy members of the AusMumpreneur Network on Wednesday night to speak about writing and pitching media releases. The questions posed by the business owners made me think about pitching to the media, so I wrote about it for this month’s newsletter.
Pitching a story to the media can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you hate making cold calls.
There are some techniques you can use to increase the chances of the media taking notice of what you have to say.
If you are sending a media release, let the journalist know it is a media release by putting the words “Media release: [insert title of release]” in the subject line. Address the journalist by name and then introduce yourself and the media release. Don’t forget to add they can contact you for more information, photos or samples (if you’re pitching a product). Then paste the media release underneath this paragraph in the body of the email.
If you don’t have a media release, but you are pitching your business to a journalist in the hope they will run with your story give them a few options. Put “Story idea: [insert main pitch topic]” in the subject line. Present three different angles and offer separate stories for each, so if the journalist isn’t interested in one you still have two more stories to pique their interest. Try to stick to a paragraph for each story.
Once you have sent your pitch, follow it up. Depending on the relationship you have with the journalist you can follow up by email or phone (their preference, not yours) and, again, depending on your relationship, you can follow up the same day, but if not try to make sure you have made contact within a week.
If they say no, don’t lose heart. Keep trying. The point of pitching to the media is to keep building that relationship. Eventually either they will be interested in what you are pitching, or will come to you when they need an expert interviewee. It’s all about building your connection.