By now, you know that you should only pitch reporters who would actually cover the kind of story you’re pitching. That’s Media Relations 101, and you’ve heard it a million times. So, hopefully, you’re already following that advice and directing your pitches to targeted reporters who would be interested in your story. But are you taking that advice too far and tailoring your pitches so much to a reporter’s preferences that you’re pitching him (or her) a story he’s already done?

3d Render of a Street Sign Concept of Been There Done ThatLet me give you an example of what I mean. Let’s say a reporter publishes a story on Monday about a small business that has used Twitter to increase its sales by 300%. Pretty neat story, right? Here’s what’s not a good idea — sending that same reporter a pitch the next day about how your business has used Twitter to shoot its sales through the roof. They’ve just written that story. Why would they want to do the same story again only featuring your company this time?

When you pitch journalists a story they’ve already done, you’re pitching them for a deadline that’s already passed. You’re also telling that reporter that you haven’t paid attention to his work, because if you had been, you would know he had already done that story, just without featuring you.

Yes, you need to make sure your pitch falls within the reporter’s scope of work, but it also needs to be unique. Reporters are always looking for the next interesting story. They’re always looking for something new that will interest and excite their readers. They don’t want to give their readers something they’ve already seen. They want to show them something different. So you need to show reporters something different with your pitch.

Before you send your next pitch, ask yourself — Is the reporter going to say “been there, done that” or will you catch him by surprise?