Simply put, a media pitch is a letter that you send to a journalist or an editor of a publication in which you want your company, products or services to be mentioned. Unlike a press release, which is a news article you have written for your business, a media pitch aims to attract the interest of a publisher so that they will create content for your company. As such, it is a teaser for a feature that the newspaper, magazine, or writer may want to publish.
Most media pitches these days are sent via email, although some companies go above and beyond by faxing – you can use internet fax for that, thanks to modern service providers like RingCentral. But how you get it to the editors is not quite as important as how your media pitch is presented. You may be excited about your company, but that doesn’t mean that anyone else is. So how exactly do you engage these busy people in a way that will make them WANT to invite you for a meeting? Here are a few things you have to remember:
There are some elements that are absolutely essential to the media pitch. In fact, they are the things that journalists and editors look for first upon receiving your pitch. If these aren’t included, or aren’t expressed in a satisfactory manner, you can’t expect to have a successful connection with the publication of your choice.
There are three things you absolutely need to include in a media pitch.
- A subject line that is intriguing and informative – “URGENT” just makes your message look like spam, as does a long but vague subject line. In both cases, you can expect your pitch to be deleted, ignored, or tossed to the trash can.
- A thrust that the reader agrees with – Every media pitch has a point, but not every pitch can claim to have a point that an editor or a journalist cares about. As such, your pitch must have a message that your audience (and the publication’s audience) can connect with.
- Useful resources through links – Your readers may want to learn more about your products, services or industry. As such, if you’re sending them an email, it’s best that you include hyperlinks that lead them to the information they may want. (Be sure the anchor text accurately describes the information).
There are also some elements that people tend to use on their media pitches that actually hurt rather than help their cause. These things must absolutely be avoided when you’re crafting a pitch, in order to connect with the editor or journalist more successfully.
There are three things that you shouldn’t do when pitching to the media:
- Canned/formulaic language – Mail merge and other automated tactics may work for official missives, but they are downright insulting if not boring to editors and journalists. Take the time to study their communication style and mirror it in your media pitch so they’ll be more engaged.
- Token acknowledgement of the author’s/publication’s work – To say that you are a fan of the publication or the person’s work is not enough; you need to cite works that you consider relevant to your company and industry. That way, you are effectively recognizing them as an authority in your field.
- Attached files – Attaching files to your emailed pitch not only has the potential to cause load lag for the recipient, it can also get your message thrown into the spam inbox. Unless requested, you’re better off using links for additional information.
One last thing you have to remember – keep each pitch as short as possible. Most journalists and editors are busy, and thus don’t have time to carefully read through a three-page pitch. Use short paragraphs and sentences. In fact, it’s best that you condense the entire thing into a few lines. It’s something than many media folk appreciate.