How Do I Get the Media to Read My Pitch?
At one time or another, every single public relations person has found themselves with a perfect story pitch that they feel is worthy of coverage, yet is getting zero interest from the media.
Before throwing in the towel on the story altogether, be sure to review your subject line.
Yes, the actual subject line of the email you are sending out. Often, media get so many emails in a day, they ONLY have time to scan the subject lines. Therefore, no matter how brilliant the pitch, it may never be seen if the subject line doesn’t capture attention in some way.
Is it direct? Meaning, does it say “Interview Available” or “Visual Event This Week” or even “Possible Profile For Father’s Day Issue.” Be specific and never assume the media knows what you are asking them to consider.
Is it timely? Does it clearly note “Live Remote Available on May 1” or “Event Preview With 50 Kids on Friday.” Many media file stories for viewing later, or for planning later. Help them determine where the email should be filed OR if it is breaking news.
Is it regional? Many media today focus on coverage of a specific region. Therefore, you need to note the exact region in the subject of the email. This may mean being as specific as noting “85254 Business Leader Earns National Honor” or “East Mesa Nonprofit Seeks Media’s Help in Recruiting Volunteers.”
Is it custom to the media/medium? Media today understand we are all multi-tasking, and that PR folks are likely pitching a story to multiple outlets. This does not mean you should just mass pitch and see what happens. Here is an example. Let’s say you are pitching a magazine editor as well as a radio station. First, take the time to customize the pitch to the section of a magazine where it best fits. For example, if the outlet has a regular “Chef Profile,” then note “Possible Chef Profile” as part of the subject line. Then, take the time to note which program on the station the pitch is for as well. “For example, “Possible Bar Brawl Guest and Cocktails.”
Is this an online submission? Then say so in the subject line! Many media are juggling print and/or broadcast stories but are also tasked with posting up online content. If your story is a fit for online, note it so the media can quickly assess and add to that section of the website.