The Do’s of Pitching a Reporter

Fact: Some reporters receive hundreds of story pitches a day. Also fact: they don’t have time to read them all. So what can you do to help ensure that your pitch not only gets read, but elicits a response? Here’s a list of things you should be doing:

DO read the publication you’re pitching. What’s more, know what the reporter you’re pitching is writing about. Keep in mind that services, such as Cision, are not always up-to-date. Just because a reporter is listed as a business writer doesn’t mean that he or she isn’t also writing about local community events.

DO keep your pitch short and to the point. Most reporters will read the subject line and the first two sentences of a pitch. Make your point early.

DO use what you know. If you read that a reporter just wrote an article on the real estate market, reference that in your pitch. The line, “I read your story, ‘The Rise of Foreclosures in the Southeast,’ and I want to check in and see if you’re planning any follow up stories” can go a long way. Acknowledge that you are following what the reporter is writing about.

DO pay attention to trends. Pitching a story that ties into a strong news trend increases your chances of being included in the article.

DO pitch a complete story. If you want to get coverage on a story about your client, such as a swim class that aims to prevent drowning, let the reporter know that you set up interviews with the founders of the class and participants, plus provide photos of a swim lesson and b-roll footage they might need.

DO some of the research for the reporter. To the previous point, offering pertinent statistics on water safety and drowning can make the reporter’s job easier. If the reporter is happy, chances are you’ll be happy, too.

DO make a follow-up call, but know the right time to call. Calling a television news desk to follow up on your initial pitch won’t be well received at 4:45 p.m. just before the 5 o’clock news.
DO ask if the reporter is on deadline. Never assume that just because they answer the phone, they aren’t busy. Oftentimes, if reporters can’t talk when you call them, they will let you know a better time to call back.

DO thank the reporter if they include your source in their story. A simple email with the subject line “Thank You” can leave a lasting impression. Reporters remember when you tell them you appreciate the work they’ve done.

By: Lauren Simo