- Do your research. You should always research the journalist you are planning to contact and the publication that they write for BEFORE you reach out with a story. Knowing the types of stories they write and how they like to be contacted can help you tailor your pitch to the preference of the journalist. In the wine industry, you want to be sure that your stories are being pitched to someone that frequently writes about food and beverage, and would be interested in your ideas.
- Know your talking points. Once you have researched and decided which journalists you are going to pitch your story to, it is important to clarify exactly what you are going to say. One way to make your pitch short and thorough is to convert it into bullet points. This way, when doing a pitch over the phone, you can be sure to hit the important details in a small amount of time.
- Be honest and realistic. Being honest is kind of an obvious point, however, being honest also means being accurate with your story. You want your pitch to be interesting and exciting yet it is important to be careful about how much you build your story up. If you try to over-promote your company too much, you run the risk of inaccuracy, therefore damaging the reporter’s reputation. This will hurt your relationship and could possibly prevent you from getting stories published in the future. In addition to honesty, it is imperative that you do not make promises that you can’t keep. The last thing that you want is to disappoint a reporter when you can’t deliver.
- Follow up often. When communicating in any professional setting, especially in media relations, you should follow up emails or phone calls consistently with new or updated information.
- Exclusivity. The best thing that you can offer a reporter while working on an interesting story is access to “insiders” that they normally would not have. This could serve as a relationship building tool as well. If you help a reporter with a story that is not related to your company, they will be more likely to give you their time when you need it.
For information regarding who to pitch your story to, visit Rock The Status Quo‘s Blog written by Carrie Morgan.