Summer is short, and Canadians tend to soak up every sun-drenched minute of it. With the out-of-office emails coming fast and furious, and work pace slowing to a lazy backstroke, summer is the perfect time to take stock of your pitching. A minimalist approach to organization has been the self-care trend of 2019. This mindset is also very beneficial for practising successful media relations. In the spirit of a slow summer refresh, here are some tips for decluttering your pitches.
Slow down to speed up
The 24-hour news cycle has journalists working a mile a minute. In today’s media landscape, if you don’t get ahead of a story, you’ll miss it. But a little forethought and planning goes a long way. Before rushing to get your pitch out, spend some time thinking about the best angle. See if similar topics are already being covered. Make sure you have a unique and relevant idea to pitch before you get writing.
Lead with the lede
It’s a cardinal rule for journalists: don’t bury the lede. Is your great idea buried in a bunch of other information? Let the lede sing.
Cut. It. Down.
Keep your message succinct. A journalist should be able to determine in a matter of seconds whether the story idea is relevant to their beat and audience. Be clear and concise with the ask.
Pitch people, not outlets
You can imagine your client’s delight at a story in the New York Times, but is it the best fit for your message? Do your homework to ensure you are pitching the best possible journalist. Study their work to find the most relevant angle. A successful media relations campaign is built on strong media relationships with the media. The only way to build trust is to ensure you pitch highly relevant information to the right contact—every time.
Always work with a highly targeted and tiered list of journalists. Have a very clear understanding of the subject matter they are interested in covering. Start by pitching tier-one individuals with a personalized note and a story idea specific to their style and viewership. When you are aware of a journalist’s interests, you are far more likely to pitch appropriately. Depending on the announcement, you may wish to cast a wider net and send a more generalized note to news desks and assignment editors who can place the story as they see fit.
Does it spark joy?
The media landscape is in constant flux. With shrinking newsrooms, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out. Ask yourself: if you were on the receiving end of your pitch, would it spark your interest?
Declutter your media conversations to cut through the noise and get your story out there.