"Journalists are bombarded with pitches every day, all day long," writes Mary Reed at MarketingProfs. "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." To catch their attention, you need to stand out—but in a way they don't find annoying. Here's how:

Always use email. If you use the telephone, you're going straight to voicemail; a fax sent to a busy mailroom might never reach its intended recipient; and most journalists will ignore random pitches at Twitter or Facebook. With an email, however, they're able to consider a well-crafted pitch (with relevant links) at their convenience. Just be sure not to include attachments, which email systems often block.

Always be relevant. You know your product or service is amazing, but let's be honest: That isn't compelling news to anyone but you. So find an interesting angle that ties what you sell to breaking news, recently published statistics or current trends. Ask yourself why a journalist's readers would care about your story idea—and don't pitch until you have a good answer.

Always use a personal touch. Why would anyone take the time to read an email that begins "Dear Journalist" and was obviously sent to 1,000 people? "Personalize your pitches by greeting each journalist by name at the start of your message, commenting on something [she] wrote about recently, or explaining why you think your idea would be perfect for [her] regular feature," suggests Reed.

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