At JSA, we strive to give our clients a platform where they can voice new business activity, position themselves as industry thought leaders, and differentiate themselves from competitors. In 2016, the media plays a major role in any company’s success, so it goes without saying that pitching journalists is a huge part of our job description.
45% of journalists write only one story per day and 44% of those journalists get pitched a minimum of twenty times per day. Crazy, huh? Us JSAers like to say that our years of practice and our deep understanding of the telecom space and its major media players, makes us experts in crafting that perfect pitch that ultimately gets picked up.
JSA’s 10-Step Guide to Crafting the Perfect Pitch
1—Find Your Perfect Match
Target key industry journalists that write within a beat relevant to your company. Read articles they’ve written and get a sense of their style, tone and topics of interest. Once you find your perfect (journalist) match, it’s time to pitch.
2—Pitching Goes Best With Coffee
69% of journalists prefer to receive pitches in the morning, ideally in the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), so they can properly plan out their writing and research schedule.
3—Keep It Short and Sweet
Incorporate relevant data and be sure to give your news some context. Try to keep your pitch under 200 words—it’s the length that 88% of writers prefer. Need help cutting your pitch down? Start with the adjectives to ensure that each word has value—A.K.A. no fluff!
4—Get Creative with Your Subject Line
Treat the subject line as the first line of your pitch. Look through your own inbox and note what subject lines stand out. Be sure to include a call-to-action that encourages journalists to open the email. Descriptive subject lines are more likely to get attention. Finally, include any keywords that are relevant to the journalist’s beat to further peak their interest.
5—There’s Safety in Numbers
If you can, include relevant data. Say your pitch asserts that your company provides the fastest connectivity to end-users—be sure to include third-party data to back that claim. Trust us, a journalist will not take your word for it.
6—If You Can, Send Embargoed Press Releases
The more lead-time you give a journalist, the more time they have to research the subject and craft the story.
7—Please, Please, Please Proofread
Journalists will judge you if grammar and/or spelling is incorrect. Having a second set of eyes read over your pitch before hitting ‘send’ can never hurt.
8—Stay Away From Social Media
With the prevalence of social media in 2016, it is natural to assume that pitching via Twitter is fair game. Using social media to pitch, though, adds a layer of informality that journalists try to avoid. Plus, tweeting “at” a journalist might mean their competitors can see it. The last thing a publication wants is for another journalist to pick up their story.
9—Hyperbole is Not Your Friend
Your pitch should cover the basics: ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, ‘Why’, and ‘So What’. Any unnecessary adjectives are a turn-off to most writers.
Do you have a photo that goes along with the news you’re pitching? Include it! It’s likely the journalist will ask you for one anyway, so save you both from the back-and-forth email exchange. Also, anticipate any follow-up questions and beat them to the punch. The easier you make their lives, the more likely your news will get picked up.
Now that you’ve learned how to craft the perfect pitch, be sure to stay tuned for our Interview Dos and Don’ts blog—coming soon!
Good luck and #HappyNetworking!