The past couple of posts have focused on writing within social media, but how should you write when approaching a reporter with a pitch? Jessica Levco, a writer for PRDaily.com, recently wrote the article, The Key to catching a reporter’s eye? Pitch like one. In it she shares some tips on how to craft an effective pitch to spark a reporter’s interest.
First you must start with research on what you are trying to pitch. She suggests spending as much time as possible researching all aspects you can about the subject of your pitch. The more prepared and well versed you are with the topic, the clearer your ideas will come across to the reporter.
Next you should know what context your pitch should be written in. In other words, you should know how newsworthy your idea is and how to convey the message you wish to put out. But be careful — you don’t want to “overplay” the story. If you have made a pitch to this publication before, make sure some time has passed and you are pitching a new idea. You do not want to continuously pitch the same story; instead, you want a fresh idea that is newsworthy.
Once you have researched the subject of your pitch and know what context to put it in, you must then tailor the pitch to your audience. If you are pitching to newspaper outlets, they may be short-staffed with reporters covering more than one beat and therefore may not know much about the topic. So make it simple and do not use a lot of jargon. If you are going to pitch to a blogger, your language can be more casual and you can even include graphics, etc.
Finally, you need to think about why a reporter should care about what you are pitching. Try to tap into the reporter’s mindset and write the pitch so that he or she will take notice. You want to write something a reporter would be interested in exploring further. Grab the reporter’s attention with your subject line and have the opening paragraph of your pitch be brief. In the second paragraph, tell the reporter why it is newsworthy. When reviewing the pitch look at it as a whole idea. Be confident in what you are pitching but stay humble in your pitch as well. You want to exude a sense of confidence in your pitch and demonstrate respect for the reporter’s time.
Just remember, in order to successfully pitch to a reporter, you need to think like a reporter. Start with these guidelines and you will be well on your way to pitching like a professional.