While there are plenty of ways to communicate a story; none is as credible as the media when you’re trying to catch the attention of millions of people who might know nothing about what you have to offer. And that’s why media, aka the press is known as the most prominent and effective mode of mass communication that there is.
Although much as changed over the last few decades, especially with the rise of online communication channels; mainstream media still remains the top dog if you want to make the masses believe in what you are saying and what you are selling.
Be it launching a product, or promoting an event. Be it inviting them to a subscription list, or informing them about a special offer. Or be it just plain branding or even a news story about your business worth sharing, media can get you the right publicity, and the reputation you so desire in all the right places.
And just like any trending news or viral story, it all starts by smartly curating the story, and then sharing it with the right journalist, and in the right manner. Better known as media pitch in terms of Public Relations (PR), or media relations to be specific, it’s how you propose the press to cover your story.
What is a Media Pitch?
A media pitch is the initial message you’d send to a journalist, publicist, or news agency so as to persuade them into publishing your story. Although usually done via e-mails (with a whopping 94% of publicists finding one-on-one emails to be the most effective), a media pitch could be also conveyed using other means of transmission such as phone, internet, or post.
Similar to a sales pitch, that thousands of salesmen pitch every day so as to lure the customers into buying stuff, a media pitch is what you’d use to entice a news agency into buying stories. Well, not literally buying!
But since media relations does not involve any financial cost in the first place, it ends up becoming a cost-free and mutually beneficial relationship for both the parties. Media gets the news they want, and you get the coverage you need, so pretty much a win-win for all.
What matters though is the substance of the story. In simple words, whether the story offers any worth or value? Is it relevant in these times? And does it invoke any interest or emotion? Once you meet these parameters in your media pitch, you can be sure to see it published, given that you pitched it to the right person. We’ll talk more about this later, but first let’s understand what makes a media pitch second to none except press releases being the most trusted source of information that journalists can get their hands on.
Why is a Media Pitch important?
The point of approaching the media is to not only make them like the story but also to help you improve it if needed, and ultimately convince them to post it in as many platforms as possible for maximum coverage and free publicity. And this includes all the popular channels of news communication from printed news to broadcasting, from newswires to social media sites, and individual influencers to online networks.
A well-crafted media pitch would also answer 3 of the major questions for any journalist. These are:
1. What is the story?
2. Why is it important or does it arouse any interest?
3. Why is this the right time to publish the story?
Much like the 5Ws of journalism – Who, What, Where, When, and Why?
Once you’ve answered these basic questions in your media pitch comes the next most crucial part of publishing a story i.e., is your news story worth telling?
Here are 5 of the most important questions that journalists would ask when making a decision on whether or not to make your story go public:
1. Is the news fresh and relevant to the current state of affairs?
2. Is it important in these times?
3. Does it arouse any interest or emotions?
4. Will it have any effect or impact on certain groups of people?
5. Is the news relevant to their niche or beat?
In short, your media pitch has to be brief, relevant, newsworthy, interesting, well-placed, and most of all well-timed given the latest trends and topics.
Different Types of Media Pitch:
Media pitches can be categorized into 4 different kinds depending on the context and the purpose:
1. Cold Pitches:
Being the most common wherein you reach out to the media or a journalist without any prior contact or relation. This is what we usually mean when referring to a media pitch in general. Journalists are flooded by these on daily basis with its number reaching to about 300 e-mails per morning. And that’s why, it’s ever so important to keep your e-mail pitch short and sweet and to the point if you don’t want it to be overlooked.
2. News/ Trend Pitches:
News/ Trend Pitches are perfect for if your story or what you’re selling matches the current landscape and trends. They are also the most probable to be accepted and published. For instance, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that took the world by storm, and has been at the center of the news industry as of late.
3. Contributor/ Guest Pitches:
Contributor/ Guest Pitchescome into appearance when an expert, scholar, veteran, or thought-leader chooses to share his valuable insights through an article. Along with the briefness, relevancy, and value-offering, a short account of your credentials must also be included in this type of media pitch.
4. Follow-up Pitches:
Follow-up Pitches are naturally a sign of healthy public relations. It means sending follow-up e-mails to your initial pitch so as to check its status. It’s what keeps everybody in loop and keeps tabs on what’s been done and what’s needed. Plus it also strengthens the much-needed relationship between a publicist and the PR. No wonder why more than 90% of PR professionals tend to maintain their relationship with journalists over e-mail. While a good 64% of journalists feel the same way.
Is Writing a Media Pitch Difficult?
Writing a media pitch isn’t a difficult task by any means. Anyone with average skills can write a good media pitch at any given time. All you need is to stick to the ground rules as I mentioned, and you’ll be able to write a notable media pitch in no time.
In fact, writing a media pitch is way easier than writing a press release for a couple of reasons. For starters, it does not require you to mention all the details or the data as is the case with press releases. And secondly, a media pitch itself is not meant to be published as it only provides a brief summary and worthiness of the story.
A press release on the other hand is a readymade news story that is to be published the way it is received, without any further editing or improvement.
Structure of a Media Pitch:
Structure-wise, a media pitch is not so different than a press release or any ordinary e-mail for that matter. Here are some of the main elements of a good media pitch:
1. Subject line:
It is the very first thing a journalist or reader would notice when going through their inboxes. The more appealing it is, the more likely it is to catch their attention and be opened. And that’s why it’s important to have a catchy and clever subject line or heading in your e-mail pitch.
2. Introduction or the WHAT section:
It is what gives the reader a fair idea about your story. Since 70% of journalists spend less than a minute reading an e-mail, it’s crucial to mention the most significant part of your story in the very first two lines if possible, rather than depending on the story or text section of your media pitch.
Timing is the key! It’s the thumb rule of pitching to the media. And while it’s suggested to share content that relates to contemporary times, it’s also required that you submit your media pitch well in advance so as to give sufficient time to the journalist.
References/ Links and CTAs should also be included in a media pitch as it provides more information to journalists about your business and objectives.
5. Media Pitch Length:
The length of a perfect media pitch can be anywhere between 2-3 paragraphs with 200-300 words in total. Yet the most desired word limit is 100 according to 45% of journalists.
Visuals can really enhance a message and make it look fancier. While a text-based message may look too simple and boring, and might end up being ignored; a combination of words, images, and visuals would most likely draw a journalist’s attention.
Tips on How to Write a Media Pitch:
Apart from its basic elements, there are certain things that you can do to make your media pitch even more appealing. Here are a few tips that can help you make all the difference and make your media pitch stand-out from others.
• Personalise/ Customise your media pitch as 80% of journalists find it to be a crucial factor. And the best way to do that is to do a little research before approaching the journalist. It will help you figure out the style, specialisation, and previous work of the journalist which you can use to give a rather personalised touch to your media pitch.
• Make sure it’s relevant in the current scenario. Although journalists are always watching out for new content that is newsworthy, stories that are relevant in current times will always get the priority.
• Play the right Beat, in other words target the right journalist. So instead of sending the pitch to a general e-mail address of a media outlet, send it a specific journalist, one who’s specialised in your area of expertise. This will increase the chances of your e-mail being read, as well as help you develop a health relation for future correspondence.
• Pitch an angle that resonates to a social cause and it will definitely help you secure a placement. It’s how you can also show the media and the public about how conscious and willing you are to meet your social responsibility. About 65% of consumers tend to do business with brands that fulfil their CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility.
• Build Relations that last so you don’t have to struggle reaching out to the media when the time comes. PR or media relations are highly personal anyway, and it won’t cost you anything if you focus on building long-term relationship rather than a one-time stand.
• Don’t forget to Follow-up!
Media pitch examples that Help You Get press Coverage:
Here are 9 perfect examples of a good media pitch that you can use to get the desired press coverage:
• Example 1: The “Have Some Data For You” Pitch:
This is where you offer some value that journalists won’t find anywhere else, i.e. accurate data. When valuable data is provided in a media pitch, it naturally increases your chances of getting a reply, publication, and hopefully the media coverage.
Here’s an example:
|Subject: Key Findings on AI Technology|
Hey (First Name)
I am searching for someone who can cover a story on Artificial Intelligence and came across your article (mention details) recently. It was quite impressive, and I was hoping you’d cover our research on AI tech.
Here are the key findings of our programme:
1. (Point 1)
Kindly refer to this URL (mention link) for more info.
Please provide your valuable feedback.
• Example 2: The “Thank You for the Help” Pitch:
Being polite and courteous in your e-mails is yet another way of arousing interest in journalist’s mind so as to get your story out. It can also be used in follow-up pitches where you’d thank the journalist about his support and guidance in making the story go public.
Here’s how to write a “thank you” media pitch:
|Subject: Thanks for all your support! Looking forward to do some more work together.|
Hey (First Name)
I recently stumbled upon an article (mention the details) that you wrote and it helped me greatly.
Thanks for guiding me through the entire process. The story wouldn’t have been a success without your valuable input.
Looking forward to see more of your work in near future.
• Example 3: The “Typo” Pitch:
Although, human error is common and should be ignored by all means; there’s nothing wrong in finding and pointing them out to a journalist if you like. Here’s how you should do it:
|Subject: Typo found in your article|
Hey (First Name)
I am a regular reader of your articles and find them to be quite influential.
As a fan of your work, I couldn’t help but notice a couple of errors and typos in your latest article (mention the date and the headline for easy reference).
Here they are:
1. (Typo. Error 1)
All ears for your next story!
• Example 4: The “You Might Wanna Check This One As Well” Pitch:
If there’s an ongoing news story which you think might be relevant to your area of expertise, go ahead and tell them how you can contribute and request them to mention you. For instance,
|Subject: You might like this! Here take a look.|
Hey (First Name)
First off, your article on XYZ is a piece of work. Most of what you’ve mentioned in there makes absolute sense.
We too happen to have the same views, and believe we could contribute. Therefore, it’d be nice if you could look into our work and mention it through your website. (Mentioned the resource or page link for ready ref.)
Looking forward to hear from you.
• Example 5: The “Infographic” Pitch:
Infographics such as a pie chart or diagram is a great way of drawing attention of the journalists due to the research that goes in producing valuable stats and facts that it presents. And the only two things you need for a superb infographic pitch are high-quality data and a stunning design.
Here’s how it should look:
|Subject: Infographics to support the story (Mention the topic)|
Hey (First Name)
In your recent article published on (mention date and topic), you’ve attempted to cover some crucial issues.
We too have been working on these issues for a while now and fortunately have gathered a lot of insights on it. Below is a chart that we’ve specially designed so as to show the true extent and effects of many of the issues you have mentioned.
Kindly take a look and let us know if serves any purpose. (Insert the chart or infographics)
We anticipating a reply soon.
• Example 6: The “Exclusive for You” Pitch:
Most journalists are always on a lookout for exclusive news stories. When you invite a journalist or media company to a special story that has the potential of going viral, it would give them a sense of pride and persuade them to cover your story.
An exclusive pitch looks like this:
|Subject: Exclusively for you (mention the name of the journalist or media outlet)|
Hey (First Name)
We’re glad to open our new facility at ABC location, and were hoping if you’d be so kind as to attend its inception at (mentioned date, time, and venue). The event is exclusively organised for a selected few from various sectors.
(Also mention the important details of the event and the activities that’d take place.)
We’d be also distributing some exclusive goodies to our friends in the media as part of our special thanks to their work and passion.
Would you confirm your attendance and delight us with your presence?
Let us know as we hope to see you at the event.
• Example 7: The “Follow up” Pitch:
Follow-up pitches as I’ve already mentioned are too important to ignore. Even if you did everything right in your initial pitch, it may still be rejected without telling you why. And that’s when a follow-up pitch is used to know more about the status of the pitch and see if there’s anything you can do to get the story through.
All you need to remember though is not to send more than 2 follow-up emails on a single media pitch, and wait for a few days in between each of them.
Here’s a template:
|Subject: Follow-up (mention the media pitch)|
Hey (First Name)
Hope you’re having an amazing day.
I was wondering about the pitch we sent on (mention date and time), but haven’t heard from you regarding the same.
It’d be great if you could tell us a little more about whether or not our story is intriguing enough and if there’s anything we could do to improve and get it published.
If there’s anything you could do to get our word out, we’d appreciate.
Hoping to get a revert from your end if possible.
• Example 8:The “Story” Pitch:
The story pitch is perhaps the most common of them all and can be used whenever you want to break a fresh story about your business or brand.
Below is a perfect example:
|Subject: News Story Media Pitch in respect to (mention the subject line)|
Hey (First Name)
Hope you’re doing good.
I am writing you to convey an amazing story on behalf of our NGO (mentioned name) with a perfect angle that matches the upcoming (mention the day, event, or the cause).
We’ve been working closely with many people related to that (day/event/cause), and were hoping if we could get their first-hand experience published. Along with getting the word out, we’re also hoping to raise awareness, and if possible, some funds so as to support the effected and the needy.
I have all the necessary details of these individuals which I’ll gladly forward should you need them.
We hope to receive all your kind support so as to make this a successful campaign.
• Example 9: The “You’ve Missed This One” Pitch:
When you look closely, an ordinary article can create a lot of opportunities which you can use to get your brand published in the media. And for that you’d first need to create a list of keywords that people use to describe your products.
Once you have the list, you can pitch the media to mention your services in the next editions of those stories which mentioned those keywords.
Here’s how you can do it:
|Subject: You’ve missed this one (mention the story/ article)|
Hey (First Name)
Hope you’re doing great.
I wanted to show my gratification for your recent article on (mentioned the subject and date of publication).
At the same, I was hoping if you’d be interested in adding the solutions we offer to the concerned individuals.
(Provide a brief summary of what you’re offering and direct links to those pages.)
In return, we’d be glad to share your article with our followers on social media and community forums.
Let me know what you think.
As you can see, a media pitch can be created in many ways depending on your goals and objectives. It’s a simple yet effective technique of inviting journalists and editors to cover your story.
In fact, it’s as easy as inviting your friends to a house party. Meaning, you don’t have to be overly formal or too casual while crafting a media pitch.
Keeping it newsworthy, relevant, and to the point, and then sending it to the journalists you know will definitely do the job.
Do a follow-up if needed, and thank them with a thank you note if the story gets published.
I hope this would help you create productive media pitches from now on.
From breaking news to making views, from gathering data to sharing valuable insights, when it comes to communicating with the masses, media has always been at the top of the news chain. Be it printing, broadcasting, or digitalization (internet), media has always stayed at the forefront of it all.
With the eyes and ears of the masses upon it, and with the trust it has built upon people’s minds, media has clearly shown an unmatched potential to influence the world around us as we know it.
Be it global events, international affairs, sports, politics, entertainment, or business, media is everywhere and nothing can be kept hidden from it for too long. In fact, the accuracy of the content is the first thing that most media outlets look for. And even if they don’t find any, the impact they can create is still crucial.
The power of the media can create, nurture, or destroy anyone’s reputation with just a single story or click. And that’s why it’s too important to build solid connections with the press regardless of whether you represent a company or a celebrity.
With media on your side, you can get more weight and credibility into what you have to say without having to worry about any backlash. Especially if you’re new in the market and don’t have a lot of authority in your niche. Media relations can help you create the impression you’re looking for and convey your story in a favorable manner.
What is media relations?
Media relations is a part of public relations (PR) that specifically deals with the media. While public relations is all about making good relations with the public, or the consumers; media relations is primarily about managing your relations with the press.
Working with the media is not a one-sided affair either. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship where both the brand and the media get what they want. Brands get the coverage they need, and journalists get the stories that are worth telling. Moreover, based on the content and purpose of your story, the press can further publish and distribute it to other channels.
And that includes all the modes of traditional and digital media options starting from conventional news channels to online newswires. From printed media such as newspapers and magazines to digital content like blogs, vlogs, and promotional videos. And from television and radio broadcasting to thousands of individual influencers on social media.
As you can see, the scope of modern media has expanded very well over the last few decades, especially with the rise of internet; but so is the competition. While social media has turned every other person into a well-informed journalist; there is still a lot of misinformation and fake news being circulated on the internet with fake news being one of the biggest challenges for journalists around the world. And that’s where verified media plays its part of providing authenticity and truth to the whole story.
Why is media relations important?
Media relations are at the heart of public relations. After all, it’s the public you’re trying to reach out and connect with at the end of the day.
Media relations is also a cost-free solution to many of your PR challenges. You can use it to inform the public about many of your usual business activities such as the launching of a product, its promotion, upcoming events, special campaigns, award ceremonies, sales and discount offers, financial and organizational disclosures like a crisis or strike, your community service and so on. All while gaining the trust, attention, and reputation you need in order to create an impact.
When you share news via media channels that are verified, it automatically creates the impression of belief in the minds of your audience.
Here are some of the biggest advantages of media relations as it helps you build:
Building trust in the eyes of your audience is one of the greatest benefits of media relations. Most prospects and potential customers tend to go by the word of mouth. Not just anyone’s word of mouth, but of the people they trust. For instance, media companies that they keep an eye on, or the influencers that they wholeheartedly follow, or the brands they truly respect as a business.
Having a well-established media company vouch for your statements is what builds people’s trust in your brand in the long run.
2. Brand Awareness:
Brand visibility and awareness is yet another major advantage of having strong media relations. By having your story published through a popular news agency, you can get more reception of your content as compared to releasing the story on your own.
While the later would allow you to draw the attention of your existing clients, a well-known media outlet would get you more people outside of your regular customer base, and thus increase your audience. As more and more people get to know about your brand, product and services, it automatically gives you the desired publicity and increases the brand awareness.
The biggest advantage of building strong and healthy relations with the media is the authority you gain in your space when they back-up your news stories.
Most genuine readers and consumers have an immense trust on sites and newswires that they usually go to. They know that a lot of work like background check and verification has been done by the media company before publishing the story. They also have a fair idea about the sites and influencers that stick to authentic news from those that promote fake news and misinform.
Therefore, when your news appears on an authentic news channel, it naturally builds and improves your brand’s authority in the market.
What’s the difference between media relations and public relations?
Although media relations are public relations, in no way are they the whole thing. Media relations are just one of the many parts of public relations. So, let’s not mistake it for one another as media relations aren’t the only type of PR but just one of them.
Public relations is the main domain that involves a company’s interactions with all groups of people involved in its business. While media relations is mainly about working with the media for the company’s image and overall benefit, there are other subsections of PR that deal with consumers, stakeholders, investors, and lawmakers etc.
So, while PR is the relationship between a business and the public as a whole; media relations are limited to business and the media. Yet, the goals of both PR in general and its various subsets are to get you the mass coverage, publicity, and brand image you desire.
To clarify it further, here are 3 major ways that can help us differentiate the media and public relations:
1. Public relations use multiple channels to build a healthy relationship with the public. Media relations is just one of them and thus uses only one channel i.e., the media or the press.
2. All media relations are public relations but all public relations are not media relations.
Other types of PR include:
– Community relations
– Crisis communication
– Public Affairs
– Social Media Communication
– Internal Employee Communications
– & Strategic communications PR
3. Public relations create the message, media relations provide you the microphone so as to deliver it to the masses. And while there are many ways for companies and PR professionals to get their word out and make it viral, media remains the best and the most trusted method there is when it comes to reaching the masses without having to spend extra dollars.
What are the Main Objectives of Media Relations?
Although media relations revolve around coverage and publicity, there are 3 main objectives to it:
1. At its core lies relations building with the press, journalists, and media personnel who can design and publish the story or news in your favor. Having strong connections within the press is quite important whether you have anything to share on the instant or at a later time. But that does not mean that you should have a countless number of friendly people in the media. Remember, having a few stable connections who can help you get your story published in all the right places is all you need to get the desired results.
2. The next objective of media relations is brand awareness. It’s how people would get to know about your brand, business, products and services. And with the right people from media on your side, it won’t take long for your brand to become visible in the highly competitive markets.
Showcasing your brand in the mainstream media will also help you become a key player in your area expertise, eventually increasing your target audience and thus brand awareness as well as reputation.
3. Last but not the least- Sales! Sales and profit is the ultimate goal of any business and its marketing efforts. Although media relations is in no way associated with direct marketing, the influence and leads it generates during brand awareness does the much needed job of boosting your sales and profit.
How to build a media relations strategy?
A well-formed media relations strategy is all about sticking to the fundamental principles of journalism i.e. who, what, where, when, and why. In short, the 5Ws. The point is to know your goals firsthand as well as the kind of journalists you consider are best suited for the story. You may also want to check if the media outlet you’ve contacted has any specific needs or requirements that you must meet prior to sharing the story.
Remember, media relations is a complicated business that needs regular contact and utmost care at every step of the way if you want to take good use of the press.
Timing is yet another crucial aspect of a sound media relations strategy that can increase or decrease the chances of your story from being heard. The trick is to have your story published only when there are no other stories waiting to be published. You can do that by having it published either early or later than the exact hours (exact hours being high time for releasing the news). So instead of posting it at 2.00 HRS, go for 1:45 or 2:20 HRS.
How to write a media pitch that gets results?
Pitching is where it all begins. Be it an e-mail pitch or an old-fashioned press release, or any other media pitch for that matter, it is what tells the journalists about the essence of your story, the target audience, and the objectives you expect to meet.
Therefore, every media pitch regardless of what format it is in has to be simple yet effective.
Here’s how to write an effective and well-crafted media pitch:
1. Start by giving the pitch a proper and appealing subject heading.
2. Mention your name, occupation, and the company you represent in the sender’s line.
3. Provide a brief and relevant introduction about your business and your target audience.
4. Get to the point quickly and offer some value to your media contacts by suggesting how your story can capture more viewers for the media company.
5. Take advantage of multimedia by including visuals, graphics, video clips, and infographics such as data and stats to convey your story in a compelling and effective way.
6. Track your media pitch for future correspondence.
The need to have proper media channels is a must if you want to get your word out in your favor. Especially in the world of business, where one wrong move or maneuver can cost you fortunes. Luckily, with good media relations, you can save money as well as achieve the desired publicity that you want for your story without having to run from place to place.