How To Write a Pitch That Will Make Editors Respond [With Examples]

How to write a pitch

Table of Contents

How to write a pitch
How To Write a Pitch


Be Relevant To Readers: Pitch Examples

Let’s imagine again that you make life preservers. You have a story about a new life preserver made especially for children that you want people to hear. How do you pitch it in a way that will make an outlet that doesn’t cover boating interested in writing a story about it? Writing a winning pitch requires that you understand who their readers are.

Does the publication focus on a region where people go boating? If so, that could be your angle. Do a little research. Find out how popular boating is in that region. Find out if it is popular with families. Find out if there have been any unfortunate incidents that could have been avoided if boaters had a great child-sized life jacket.

Does the publication focus on technical innovations? If you leveraged technology to make your life jacket better than the average life jacket, make sure your pitch focuses on that. Does the publication focus on small businesses or entrepreneurs? If so, make sure your pitch explains that you have a story about bringing a business idea to life and learning lessons along the way.

Finding a relevant angle is easier if you can step into the shoes of a reporter. Imagine that you had a group of readers that came to you for stories about sports or cuisine or health or Tampa Bay. How would you angle your story about a life preserver to make it relevant to them? If you can figure that out, you have discovered a winning pitch that has a better than average chance of being a hit with the outlet.


How to Write a Pitch Subject Line

There are a few ways to submit a pitch to an outlet, but the most common way will be via email. For pitches sent by email, writing a good subject line is very important. Here are a few things that you should consider when crafting an email subject line:

  1. Beware the spam filter – You want to put some great, attention grabbing words in the subject line — like “now” or “exclusive” or “life-changing” — but you also want to avoid the words that spammers use so as not to end up the recipient’s spam folder.
  2. Use a call to action – Offering something of value, like a sample, interview opportunity, or video clip is a great way to differentiate your pitch from the dozens of others the outlet will see that day.
  3. Showcase your hook – What is at about your story that will grab a reader’s attention? Is it a revolutionary feature? Or a surprising revelation? Whatever it is, do your best to include it in the subject line. Think of the subject line as a headline. Make it the kind of headline that inspires the reader to keep reading.
  4. Don’t yell – Putting your subject line in all caps will make it stand out, but for the wrong reason. IF PUTTING YOUR PITCH IN ALL CAPS IS THE BEST PLAN YOU HAVE FOR ATTRACTING ATTENTION, YOU NEED TO COME UP WITH A NEW PLAN.

(To really dig into this topic, visit the OtterPR blog post on How to Write Pitch Subject Lines That Get Results.)

How Long Should Your Pitch Be?

Remember that you’re pitching an announcement about the story, not the whole story that you want to tell. You might think the best strategy is giving the outlet as much information as possible so that they can have all they need to tell your story. Keep in mind that an editor’s email inbox is a busy place. If you want to get an editor’s attention, giving them a thesis to read is not the way to do it.

In general, your pitch should be 200 to 300 words. Make it concise. Once you have crafted an attention-grabbing subject line, expand on it a little bit. Fill in some important details. If you can, explain why now is a great time for the outlet to share your story. Include some information about your company. Wrap it up with contact information so they know how to reach out if they want to know more. To check out some media pitch templates, visit the Otter PR blog post on How to Write a Media Pitch – With Real Examples.

Here’s a bonus tip: Regardless of what you are pitching or to whom, make your pitch personal and personable. The journalist or editor will appreciate you taking the effort to treat them like a person, rather than a tool for sharing your story. Greet them. Let them know you appreciate them. Thank them in advance.


Pitch To A Friend, Not A Stranger

Imagine that you had a friend who was a journalist. Do you think it would be easier to pitch to them? Of course it would. So become a friend — or at least an acquaintance — with the journalists or editors to whom you plan to pitch.

You can start this process by identifying the publications that you would love to have your story in. Then find the writers or editors to whom your story would be relevant. Once you identify them, follow them. Read what they write and comment on it if you can. Find them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Follow them there. Comment (in an encouraging way) on the posts that they are sharing. Share their posts with your network in a way that promotes the work that they are doing. Journalists will notice this, which means when you pitch to them, you won’t be a stranger.

Also, knowing what the journalist has been writing will help you to make a pitch more personal. For example, you can say, “I notice that you do some great reporting on boating safety. I think you would be interested in a great new life preserver that just came on the market.”


Don’t Be Afraid To Follow Up

Until you get a “no” from a journalist or editor, it isn’t a “no.” The fact that you did not get a response to your pitch could just mean it ended up in a very full inbox. Remember you have a story you want to tell. Being persistent may be the thing to help you get your pitch read. Send a followup email that asks if they got it and if they have any questions. If you still don’t get a reply, move onto another outlet and start again. Remember, even the pros are only successful eight percent of the time.

Nik Korba

Nik Korba

Nik has been a screenwriter, ghostwriter, novel writer, song writer, and blog writer with a degree from the University of Miami. He has prepared communications for thousands online and on social platforms, as well as being involved in the production of more than 1,000 videos.
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