- Know who you’re pitching to
If you’re pitching to a regional or local news outlet, make sure you put the place name in the headline and intro. Media organisations receive dozens of press releases and pitches every day. If it’s not immediately clear that a release is relevant to the area of circulation, it will be ignored.
- Offer value add-ons
Value add-ons could be in the form of additional interviews, photos, or a video. Allowing a press release to be ‘“worked up’” by a journalist will result in better placement in print and more time in the top modules or front pages of websites. Let them know who will be available and when so the journalist doesn’t have to spend time tracking people down.
- Be mindful of deadlines
Give journalists time to work up a story from your pitch. Try to send your press release before midday, or if that’s not possible, give them a heads up you have something coming later in the day and outline what it will be so they can plan for it.
- Give and take
Position yourself as an expert in your field. Respond to reactive media requests and develop a working relationship with journalists. Then, when you have a story you want to proactively release, you will have name recognition with the journalist and they will more likely notice your pitch.
- Understand what’s newsworthy
When pitching a story, think about who the audience is and why they would be interested. A good exercise is to ask yourself, “If I wasn’t involved in this organisation, why would I care about this story?”. Pitching to the right organisation will greatly increase your chances of a story being picked up. It also helps to know what rounds journalists cover so you can pitch relevant stories to specific journalists.