How To Pitch to Journalists? With this Excercise You Will Make It Perfect

Pitching your story to the journalist can be tough. How to focus on the highlights and underline the aspects that can be interesting for this concrete medium? I have for you one, simple (and really fun) exercise.

Journalists receive hundreds of story ideas each week. Also, let’s be honest with ourselves. Majority of journalists thinks that our pitches and stories suck.

If you’re looking to get coverage for your business, being able to make a compelling “pitch” is a must.

How to do it?

Every PR Pro I met struggled with those question in some point of his career. But I have a perfect exercise that will tune up your pitching skills and give you a new angle on your stories. I do this exercise on the workshops I deliver to PR Pros — it always brings a lot of fun and interesting results.

Write down on the paper cards a fairytale title and next to it a type of magazine / website where participants of workshops need to pitch that story via a phone. Ask participants to write bullet points or short pitch text with relevant pieces of information and prepare a short phone pitch. Remember that the pitch must fit the magazine readers’ profile. Best to work on this in 2–3 person groups. Time for preparing pitch is 15 minutes. Time for presentation and discussion about the pitches — 15 minutes.

Are you ready for a challenge?

Do you remember Cinderella story? I bet you do. Imagine you need to pitch this story to the fashion/celebrity magazine. What part of it will be most important to the journalist you’re talking to and his and his readers? Is it will be the whole story? Or maybe just a grand ball at the palace with celebrities? Maybe you should just focus on the dress the Cinderella were wearing from this really new designer called Fairy Godmother?

So what if you must pitch Cinderella story to The Financial Times as a King’s Spokesperson? Is the whole story important to the reader’s or maybe only relevant thing will be a fact that Prince Charming is looking for a wife to stabilize the political situation of the Kingdom by the marriage union? 
Don’t be afraid to ask yourself such questions. Your company story can be told from very different angles. You just must find a right one that will make journalist interested with your brand.

Remember to keep your story lean and impactful. Keep your pitch simple and short and relevant to the magazine reader’s profile. And if your story doesn’t match the reader’s profile are you sure you want to pitch it anyway? Is this particular magazine reader is really your prospect, client you have something to offer to them?

You can’t make a first impression twice. Being prepared to your pitch is very important. It’s part of building relations with the journalist. After every e-mail, every phone call you should make a note with the feedback from a journalist. He didn’t give you feedback? Ask for it. Without it, you will not be able to get to know him well enough to make a successful pitch. Before pitching remember that you really know the magazine, research reader’s profile, the editorial cycle. It’s really important if it’s monthly, weekly or internet portal. You can also use various web tools to improve your communication with journalists.

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