Stirring the interest of the media when you have a story you want shared can be a challenging task. Reporters are inundated with pitches from PR agencies, businesses and other sources, and yours needs to stand out. 

Finding a way to distinguish your pitch from the others is the only way yours will ever get read. But how to do that can be blurry. Pitches that are too long, too short, too vague or simply boring are likely to end up in a reporter’s trash folder based on their subject line alone. We’ve compiled our best practices to get your pitches the attention they deserve.

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Better Pitches to Share Your Story

  1. Snazzy subject lines capture attention. If your subject line isn’t attention-grabbing, the rest of your pitch is irrelevant as reporters are not likely to open it. To avoid getting marked as spam or ending up in their trash folder, your subject line needs to explain why the reporter should care in a concise manner. Choose each word carefully so your subject line is witty, informative and engaging. 
  2. Connect with reporters on social media. The ideal social networks to reach them are Twitter and Instagram. Keep an eye on their interests and target them with relevant stories. By tagging reporters on social media or messaging them directly, you have a high chance of getting a quick response — especially if you keep their niche in mind. 
  3. Personalize your pitches. Never mass email reporters by sending the same pitch to a long press list filled with contacts you know little about. Reporters who routinely receive pitches that are outside of their areas of coverage or expertise will learn to disregard your pitches if you spam them with content irrelevant to their beat. 
  4. If you like a reporter’s story, send an email or a tweet and tell them. This creates a rapport that could lead to one of your pitches getting picked up. 
  5. Follow up respectfully. Most of the time you won’t hear back from your press list contacts which is why you should follow up with a short, professional email, or a quick phone call. Always be respectful and understanding, even if your idea is rejected. They will remember a bad interaction and disregard future pitches if you react with frustration.
  6. Don’t be a pest. Followup is important but never be so persistent that you become bothersome. Know when to back off and do it with dignity.

Benchmarks to Keep in Mind

Muckrack’s State of Journalism 2021 survey offers the following insights:

  • Pitch length: 91 percent of journalists prefer pitches under 200 words. Nearly half (46 percent) prefer 1-200 words and a quarter (25 percent prefer under 100 words.
  • Time of day: 68 percent of journalists prefer to receive pitches between 5 AM and 12 PM EST.
  • Follow up: 90 percent of journalists say it’s Ok to send at least one follow-up email; 38 percent say two or more.

When you pitch a story, getting noticed is half the battle. Even the most tenured PR pros look for new ways to improve their pitching ability. Be persistent and tweak your strategies if you feel your stories aren’t getting the attention they deserve. A/B test subject lines and see how reporters respond.

Need a media relations strategy? Red Banyan can help. Our media outreach professionals have the skills and experience to land you the kind of coverage your story deserves. Reach out today to see how you can leverage our seasoned team of PR experts.

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