When I asked some of my colleagues what advice they might give to my students, one of the most resounding requests was â€œlearn how to pitch a reporter!â€ So I have put together some of the key elements.
1.) For the love of all things holy, make sure your story has news value. Reporters hate being bothered with trivial, non-stories. Donâ€™t even think that you can try to disguise a storyâ€” most reporters have a very keen sense for BS and donâ€™t forgive so easily.
2.) Make sure you have your talking points in front of you. You donâ€™t need a script (and definitely shouldnâ€™t sound like youâ€™re talking off of one) but if a reporter asks a question and knocks you off your thought train, your notes will be a helpful guide to getting back on track and making sure no pertinent details are forgotten.
3.) Donâ€™t launch straight into your pitch. Introduce, introduce yourself and ask the reporter if it is a good time to talk. Most reporters will be grateful for this, especially if they are on deadline. If they canâ€™t talk when you call, ask when is a better time to call them back and then FOLLOW UP. Donâ€™t expect them call you back.
4.) Establish a relationship with a reporter. Reporters are people, too, and youâ€™ll likely have to pitch multiple stories to some of the same reporters throughout your PR career. Even if a reporter doesnâ€™t run a story after a pitch, donâ€™t hold a grudge, it may have been his editorâ€™s call. If you establish a good working relationship with reporters, they will know you can be trusted with providing them quality stories and sources.
5.) Relax and be confident. Sure, youâ€™ll be anxious the first few times you pitch, but with these few tips and a little practice, youâ€™ll soon be on your way to being a PR pro.