Who do you pitch to?
Well… who would care about this news? That’s who. Whatever publications, stations or media outlets would find your bit of news the least bit interesting. And even if there’s only a slight chance they would run your little bit of news in their pub, send it! You never know, it could be a slow news day, and you could luck out.
Here’s a question for you readers — is it ever too much? Do you think it is possible to over-send a release? (And I’m not talking about sending the coverage of your weekend block party to the NY Times, I’m talking within reason). Is there a danger is sending your release a little too far and wide?
How to pitch?
Don’t send out a mass e-mail to your distribution list. Instead tailor each pitch to that media outlet, or at least send an individual and more direct/personal e-mail addressed to that station or publication. Let’s be clear, good pitching is not a “to whom this may concern” situation.
Follow up with a phone call. Make sure they have received your release and offer to help or answer any questions they might have regarding the information. Use this opportunity to build a relationship (as this whole process is easier if you can build strong connections with your local media). SPIN Works! The nuts & bolts of good PR: A media guidebook for public interest organizations says that, “No matter how brilliant your message or clever your frame, it can very well be irrelevant you do not follow through with the pitch call.” TRUTH: Without a follow up call – there is no real pitch effort being made.
When do I pitch?
One very important aspect is timing. You don’t want to be making follow up calls when journalists and writers are trying to deal with deadlines for the next day, or when TV reporters are preparing for the evening news which will be live in an hour. SPIN says, “Late morning, say, around 10:30, is a good time to call reporters. They have already had their morning coffee, their daily planning meetings probably have concluded, and it is before they get deeply involved in other stories. The earlier in the week the better”
I’ve heard many PR peeps say that pitching was their least favorite part of PR because it made them feel like a sales person, which I completely understand. However, I try to take this perspective, and I believe it helps. If you believe in what your client is doing and think that this news concerning your client is news worthy (if you didn’t think it was news worthy than you wouldn’t be pitching it) than you should feel validated in sharing that news with these medias. If you care about this event or milestone, so should they… now tell them why!