Pitching has always been a cornerstone in the art of securing earned media coverage. Oftentimes an effective, well-crafted pitch is all that separates the news of the day from a story that no one has heard.

But besides actually having a story to pitch, there are some important things PR and marketing pros need to know in order to pitch it effectively.

These are three must-haves of successful media pitching:

  1. Create a customized press list. Unless you are pitching to an individual reporter, you will need to create a press list tailored to the specific geographical area and the topic of your story. It is also important to differentiate between consumer and trade publications, as you will need to adjust your angle and language depending on the target audience.
  2. Craft a concise and effective pitch email. Journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day and are simply not able to read all of them. To increase the chances of your pitch being noticed, make sure it gets straight to the point. Address each reporter by name and make it clear why he or she should be interested in the story. Don’t try to cram too many details in one email – stay focused on the main idea.
  3. Follow up. Let’s be real, most of the time you won’t hear back from your press list contacts. This is why you should always follow up either with a very short email, or a quick phone call. And although it is easy to get frustrated by multiple rejections or unanswered phone calls, you should ALWAYS be respectful to your contacts.

Remember that, just as it is about skill, effective media pitching is about building long-term relationships with reporters and editors. And if you follow these simple rules, chances are, one of your stories WILL become the news of the day.