In this article, you'll learn...
- What journalists want to hear from you
- Common pitfalls to avoid when pitching story ideas to journalists
Knowing how to pitch your story idea to journalists can make the difference between their pursuing it and using you as a source in their stories, and their rejecting or even ignoring your pitch. What follows are 11 tips for developing pitches that journalists will seriously consider.
But first, here's a little background information about a journalist's work environment today, and why effective pitching is so important.
With deep cutbacks at most media outlets, journalists are being asked to do more with less and to cover multiple beats. The pressure to produce and to meet deadlines can be intense. Journalists are bombarded with pitches every day, all day long. The pitches arrive via phone, fax, email, and even social media sites. Because of the high volume of pitches they receive, journalists cannot consider them all and get their work done, too.
So, here are 11 tips that'll ensure that your pitch cuts through the clutter and gets attention from the journalists you're targeting.
1. Email your pitch
Many journalists prefer to receive pitches via email because a story idea can be more completely developed in a written message and because they can read and reread it at their leisure. Also, if they are not interested in your story idea now but think they may want to pursue it in the future, they can save your message and easily access it later.
In general, pitching journalists via the telephone is a waste of time because many of them let their incoming calls go to voicemail, and many never even listen to their messages. And those who do tend to return calls only from people with whom they have established relationships, unless a message from a stranger really jumps out at them.
If you submit your pitch via fax, you have no guarantee that the journalists you want to reach will ever receive your fax, much less read it. Finally, most journalists prefer not to be pitched via social media.