The primary goal of a media pitch is to get a journalist or media outlet to take notice of your story. No matter how compelling your business, news, or story might be, if you don’t write a media pitch that grabs their attention, it will get buried with the hundreds of other PR pitches they receive every day. Knowing exactly what journalists are looking for is essential to crafting a stand-out media pitch and is the first step to cultivating media relationships that last.
What is a Media Pitch?
A media pitch is a concise message sent to a journalist, usually via email, that essentially tells them about your story and why they should cover it. It will explain what it is, why it is interesting, and why now is the time to cover it. In essence, it is your elevator pitch written in a way that appeals to the media.
If you have ever found yourself with an amazing story that you know would make a great media article or TV report, but have no idea how to bring this to the press, this blog covers everything you need to know to craft the perfect media pitch, complete with real examples that earned multiple media successes.
Different Types of Media Pitches
The most common type of media pitch is a cold pitch, which means reaching out to a journalist or outlet where you have no prior relationship. It’s what journalists will see the most of, meaning they need to be truly top-notch to grab their attention. It will include a brief sentence about you or your company, what your story is, and why now is the right time to cover it.
News/ Trend Pitches
A crucial part of any PR strategy is being on top of news and trending topics. Journalists’ editorial calendars will largely be dictated by what is current, and if you have a story that relates to something that is garnering a lot of news attention, that is your golden opportunity to land in their inbox with a relevant media pitch.
Contributor/Guest Post Pitches
If you are an expert in your field, an academic, or someone with valuable experience, you may wish to pitch an article written by you to be contributed as a guest post to a website or magazine. Most outlets will prefer you pitch an idea rather than a finished article, so they can provide a brief and word count, and work with you during the writing process. Just like any other pitch, it should concisely sum up the idea, why it is relevant, and why you are the person to write it.
Follow Up Pitches
Good PR is all about keeping your contacts warm, which means sending courteous follow-ups to your pitches and keeping in touch with journalists you have worked with before. Your follow-up is a way to bump up your email in their inbox in case a journalist missed it, or remind them of the story in your pitch.
Another type of follow-up email is reaching out to one of your journalistic contacts that you have a prior relationship with. The most successful pitches will be the ones where the reporter already knows your name. That’s why offering and maintaining partnerships with journalists is essential – whether this is via LinkedIn, social media, or even by grabbing a coffee together.
Not only does a partnership help to maintain a relationship, but it shows that you understand their specialties and that you are also a good contact for them to have also. If you are looking to expand your journalistic network, LinkedIn is the perfect place to like, comment, and engage with their work. Spending the time doing your background research and networking with the right people will ensure you have greater long-term success.
How Can I Make My Media Pitch Stand Out?
One of the most powerful tools at your disposal is your email subject line. It will be the difference between a journalist giving your media pitch a read, or scrolling straight past it. The subject line should be clear, concise, spark intrigue, and use the hook of your story.
However there’s a fine line between a snappy subject line and click-bait, so be careful not to go for the latter or it might discourage a journalist from clicking to learn more. Subject lines that offer journalists something are also a great way to get your media pitch opened. This might mean starting your email with “Interview Opportunities”, “Case Study”, “Samples”, or “Exclusive”. Each of these things not only offers value to a journalist but a call to action.
How to Structure a Media Pitch
Journalists are very busy people, meaning you need to make your media pitch as quick and easy for them to read as possible. After they have read your subject line, the hook of your pitch should also be in the very first line of the email body – if you are expecting a journalist to find the story in a wall of text, you have already lost their interest. Be clear on why this story is valuable to them, and waste no time getting straight to that point.
You should be looking at around 200-300 words that cover: what it is you are pitching, what you are offering, some background information on you or your company, why now is the relevant time to cover it. You should remember that you are writing to real people and not just email addresses, so keep it light, friendly, and personable.
How to Personalize Your Media Pitch
A journalist will be able to quickly spot a media pitch that has been blasted to thousands of contacts rather than one that has been written specifically for them. To personalize your media pitch, you should show an understanding of that outlet or journalist’s beat. This means researching previous pieces, understanding their style, and writing several variations of your story that puts the focus on what is most relevant to that outlet.
You can also show that you are a genuine reader of that journalist’s work, mentioning a recent piece you enjoyed and how it might relate to your media pitch topic. Pitching one by one will take longer, but it will add far more value and bring more frequent success.
How to Make Your Media Pitch Relevant
While journalists will always be on the lookout for evergreen content, the more relevant, newsworthy topics will always take priority. Your media pitch should almost immediately attach your story to something current, whether that be a news hook, recent statistics, or even a new element to a story that a journalist has recently covered.
By showing a journalist why they should cover your story now, you are saving them precious research time that they simply do not have the time to do themselves. If you can also attach your pitch to a national day that has relevance to your stories, like Women’s Health Month or Memorial Day, that will show a journalist why your pitch is timely.
How to Pitch to the Right Person
Just because your media pitch topic might be relevant to a particular outlet, doesn’t mean that every reporter there will cover it. Before you pitch anywhere, allow some research time to familiarize yourself with different reporters and what their specialties are – often you can find team information on the outlet’s website, or you can search for people on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Media Pitch Examples
Every media pitch will look different, but below are some real pitches that each saw successes in national and regional outlets across print and TV. These should give you an idea of how to first approach a journalist, and how to get to the heart of your story right away.
Media Pitch Offering Samples
SUBJECT LINE: Samples/ Review Opportunities: New York Design Studio XXX
Hi (contact first name),
I hope you’re having a great start to your week.
Would you be interested in sampling and reviewing products from exciting up-and-coming design brand XXX?
XXX is a design-centric lifestyle brand and creative studio, creating products including wall art, cards, and even face masks.
New York-based artist and founder XXX has made it their mission to spread cheer, and add a pop of color to people’s lives, especially when we are all stuck at home more than ever. Prints are designer-inspired, street art style, super trend-centric, and very metropolitan.
Each piece is designed by XXX but printed digitally meaning pieces are more affordable, without sacrificing quality. XXX is on top of trends and is always the first to put out a piece of work with the latest pop-culture favorites in mind. There really is something for everyone, from college students to dads, mums, and kids.
Sample products we can offer include:
- Wall Designs
- Phone cases
- Home office accessories
- Face masks
Take a look on the site (link) and let me know any particular products you are interested in receiving for reviews, features, roundups, or to include in your holiday gift guide and we can organize samples asap.
Guest Post Media Pitch
Hi (contact first name),
I hope you’re keeping well.
I’m just getting in touch to see if you would be interested in a guest post with award-winning journalist, podcast host, and producer XXX about the key steps every business needs to consider before starting a podcast?
Podcasting is very quickly becoming the most popular form of media in the US. In 2006, only 22% of the population in the US was even aware of the podcasting space. By 2020, this has skyrocketed to 75%, and there was an estimated 88M podcast listeners in 2019. With the pandemic making us crave original, creative content more than ever, if you haven’t already launched a podcast of your own, there’s no doubt that you are at least listening to one.
XXX is the owner and founder of the XXX, a one-stop-shop podcasting studio that provides all podcast services under one roof, from audio production, album art, to distribution. XXX has worked with clients including (examples)
Crucial steps to consider before you decide to start a podcast include:
- (Bullet point examples)
If a guest post would be of interest, please get in touch and we can organize something.
News Story Media Pitch (TV)
Hi (first name)
I hope you’re doing well.
I have a great story with a local angle to share with you for Women’s Health Month this May.
XXX is an acclaimed local musician and award-winning songwriter based out of XXX, has teamed up with XXX charity, a one-of-a-kind nonprofit, supporting the innovators working on cancer beating solutions by fundraising through rising artists. XXX has had several female family members affected by cancer in the past so this cause hits close to home for her. She knew she needed to use her music and platform to help fight the war on cancer.
XXX was considered in five categories in the 58th Annual Grammys and has been named XXX’s Best Female Vocalist” multiple times, garnering several XXX awards.
(Quote from the artist about the importance of the mission)
I can connect you with (artist) and (founder of charity) for interviews. Let me know if you would like to set something up this month? I can also provide some b-roll, pictures, and more. Just let me know what you need!
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Find out more about how to craft the perfect pitch in our video below.