Media Pitches – Tips From The Other Side

Media pitches are a big part of any significant announcements, but have you ever wondered if we’re doing them well? If we’re drawing journalists into our stories, or driving them away? If we could pitch more effectively?

If you have, check out this Inside PR podcast where the hosts, David Jones and Terry Fallis, interview two producers from Breakfast Television and get some tips on pitching stories for TV (if you don’t have an MP3 player, don’t worry, you can play the show through the website).

Here are a few tips I gleaned from the interview:

  1. Be honest. If it’s not a good story, don’t pretend it is. The producers will remember, and while you may get coverage this time, they’re less likely to cover your future story when it really matters
  2. If you can add some spice to smaller announcements, you’re more likely to be successful. Think visuals, experts (especially controversial ones) or the people-angle
  3. Build a relationship with your media contacts. It won’t help you get coverage on a weak story, but your effectiveness will rise considerably if you know how they like to be reached (phone? Email?) and when (for Breakfast Television, between 9am-1pm)
  4. Bottom line up front. Your email subject should be, “World’s biggest pizza maker comes to town,” not, “Great story for Breakfast Television.” Producers don’t have time to dig down to find the news
  5. Be flexible with your ideas. The producers may suggest a different approach, or push back and ask for something else. If you want to get on the show, you may need to compromise on your original pitch
  6. Don’t get too comfortable. You may have dealt with a producer before, but that doesn’t mean you know it all. Give them all the information and let them choose
  7. Remember: this is a two-way street. You want coverage of your announcement; they want interesting TV. If you do your job well, everyone wins and you’re more likely to be well received next time you pitch a story.
Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.