6 Essentials When Pitching a Story to an Editor
Tips and checkpoints to review before sending a pitch to an editor or writer of a publication.
In today's online world, getting your brand or business featured in the press has never been more important. Every single well-known brand, public figure, and company has a publicist on a retainer. We are constantly reading about these famous individuals in the news outlets we follow. You might be wondering why all these different news outlets and publications cover these stories at the same time? It's because each story release is usually planned and executed on a schedule. Staying relevant in the media is essential for anybody's career. If you aren't continually being talked about, you could easily lose the traction you had going before. This is why it is essential to make appearances often in high authority and credible publications.
As a publicist, your job is vital to the success and overall career outlook of your clients. Knowing how important attention in the media is, a publicist's job can carry a lot of pressure. Some startups can't afford a publicist right away, so it is common to see people pitching on their own. Whether you are a publicist, or just trying to get your brand in the media, I've put together some tips on how to correctly and effectively pitch a story and included some insight that has helped me land my clients on some of the biggest publications of our time.
Here are 6 essential tips to help you pitch a story correctly and successfully:
Tip 1: Make contact with the writer via email, social media, or LinkedIn before sending the pitch.
It's common for someone trying to land a feature on a publication to just scroll through the website, find a writer/editor's email, and just shoot the pitch away without establishing any kind of connection. 99% of the time you will never get a response if you do this. It is important to make a connection with the person before ever sending over the idea for a story. This allows you to first build a relationship with the writer, and establish ground for your pitch. Sending emails cold turkey rarely works out.
Tip 2: Ask yourself - Does the angle I am taking for my story match the overall theme of the publication?
Before sending over your pitch, it is important to look over the site and review some of the other stories that have been featured there. You need to make sure you are sending something that would fit within the overall aesthetic of the website and match the message of the overall mission of the publication. Not doing so could get you an eye roll from the person you are reaching out to.
Tip 3: Research what the writer likes to cover.
Try to match your story with someone who might actually be interested in working with it. Sending a pitch about a subject that the writer will have no interest in won't get you anywhere. Be methodical in your pitch. If you are having a rough time trying to piece together something that would work, think about a different angle you could take. It's better to not send anything over than waste the writer's time. Try to put yourself into their shoes.
Tip 4: Give the writer/editor everything they need to know. Be detailed in your pitch.
When first introducing the subject of the story, it is vital to provide all necessary details about the person, brand, or business you are hoping to land coverage on. You want to make the writer's job as easy as possible. This usually means providing in-depth background before moving into the actual story, where you want to let the writer know about your subject and show them the credentials they have that might peek interest. Mentioning other top-tier publications that the subject has been covered on always helps establish credibility and makes the story more believable/desirable. Attach all photos and necessary documents to the first email you send.
Tip 5: Make sure the story is unique.
When sending over your pitch, you need to make sure the story is unique. If the subject has already been talked about in the light you are trying to get them featured, you are probably going to get a denial. Make sure what you are sending is unique and original. Publications want to cover something that has never been seen before. They want to own the story and will take pride in sharing an original angle. Of course, this doesn't apply when working with a press release or music release rollout. In those cases, normally the subject will ask to keep the story the same across all publications.
Tip 6: Do not offer monetary compensation.
Do not start the pitch with "How much for a post?" You will never get a reply. True editorial is never for sale — don't waste your money. The only exception is if you're hiring a freelancer to create custom content, write your newsletters or update your company blog. In this case, you will compensate the writer.
There are many different pieces to put together when pitching a story to a publication. The more professional and considerate you are while communicating with a contact, the better results you will have. Hopefully, these tips help you on your journey to getting press. The importance of being covered in the media can't be stressed enough and can be the difference-maker for anyone looking to build their personal brand.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor