2020 has brought on unforeseen challenges for the communications field. Though journalists are strapped beyond their means, they are still expected to produce in-depth stories. A survey by Cision found 22% of newsrooms viewed staffing and resources as their biggest challenge in the past year. This presents an ample opportunity for public relations professionals to prove their worth by being a helpful resource.
Journalists are often multitasking, so it’s important a good public relations professional understands what reporters actually need.
First, personalize your pitch and keep it short and focused. A reporter is less likely to give your pitch a read if it is a blanketed email. Personalizing the pitch also shows you took time to do your research.
It’s also important as a PR professional to be considerate of a reporter’s time. No reporter has time to read a lengthy email to find a buried lead. If you’re sending an email pitch, keep your email short and get to the point quickly. Your email should address why the pitch is newsworthy and what are you offering (i.e. an interview). Be sure to include a succinct subject line as well.
Second, timing is everything. Know when the publication’s deadlines are and what time their editorial meetings are held. Newspaper and magazine reporters won’t be able to cover your story if you send it after they’ve already gone to print. According to the survey by Cision, reporters receive between 51-100 media pitches a week with most of the pitches being sent on Monday.
Third, provide reporters with all the materials they’ll need to put the story together. Since reporters are stretched for resources, presenting them a one-stop-shop is helpful. Doing so may also help you establish your credibility and grow your media relationships. Whenever appropriate, be sure to include images, links, and graphics to further strengthen your story.
Following the above steps can help ensure your pitch is the needle in a reporter’s inbox haystack.