Some reporters don’t want anymore than a well written e-mail pitch, but others do. So don’t rule out the personal touch. If they are open to it – invite a reporter out for coffee and get to know them.
I ran across this short but informative article written by Mickie Kennedy on Ragan -
3 phrases to omit from your next conversation with a journalist
1. “Never seen anything like it.”
Few things make a journalist roll his or her eyes more than hearing how your product is “brand new and innovative.” What your company invented and sells might be incredibly cool and exciting. It could sell millions and make everyone rich. In the meantime, let’s keep the hyperbole down and not act like it’s going to change the planet. Keep it in perspective. Have confidence it’s a great product, but don’t put it on a pedestal, especially when pitching to journalists. They’ve heard it all before.
read the full article here
If you have never heard of HARO (Help a reporter out) then you owe it yourself to check it out. HARO, created by Peter Shankman, puts reporters and sources together in a very effective way. Once you sign up (for free!), you’ll get daily e-mails with reporters requests for sources and you can reply directly with your pitches. You can also follow HARO on twitter @helpareporter.
Last week I participated in the “How to Pitch a HARO Reporter” conference call featuring reporters from the WSJ, USA Today, AOL News and Crain Business. Here are some of the great tips from the call:
- Most reporters want pitches via e-mail (not via phone and not via twitter).
- Know what the reporter writes about – do your homework before you send the pitch
- Subject line is key – short & sweet indicating what your pitch is about
- “Exclusive” in subject line will get attention – BUT only if it’s truly exclusive!
- Misspellings are annoying – check and double check before hitting the send button.
- Initial pitch should be short, interesting and on target, don’t include attachments. If reporter is interested they’ll come back and ask for more info.
- Use bullet points – why newsy, why now; is your pitch related to a broader trend or related to a current news story?
- If you include a link in your e-mail pitch, make sure you explain what it is; if you can’t explain don’t expect reporter to click on it.
- The traditional press release is not going to get you coverage – usually old news by the time it’s read.