Why do your media pitches suck?

"Your Media Pitches Suck" is provocatively proclaimed in large, bold font against a complex background of digital data streams and circuit-like patterns, symbolizing the analytical dissection of PR strategies and the need for improvement in media communication within the industry, as addressed by Actual Agency."
Written by
Tim Donovan

As PR pros, one of the critical aspects of our job is communicating our client's messages to the media effectively. However, despite our best efforts, it's not uncommon for our media pitches to fall flat. 

In this post, we will explore why many media pitches suck and provide five key considerations that PR people should consider when crafting better and more meaningful pitches.

First and foremost, it's essential to understand what a media pitch is. According to Muck Rack, a media pitch is "a short communication, typically an email or direct message, suggesting a news story to a journalist or editor at a publication, radio station or broadcast network. The goal of a pitch is to generate coverage and determine if your media contact is interested in creating a story around the content." [1]

So why do so many media pitches fall short? 

One reason is that PR pros often don't take the time to understand the media outlets they are pitching to and the journalists who work for them. As Muck Rack notes, "Every niche and every reporter operates a little differently." It's essential to research the outlets and journalists you pitch to, and tailor your pitches accordingly. For example, one journalist might prefer to be pitched in the evening, while another might like to be pitched in the morning. Understanding these nuances can make all the difference. [2]

Another reason media pitches often fall short is because PR pros tend to focus too much on their agenda rather than on what will interest the journalist or their audience. As Prowly notes, journalists and editors are flooded with press releases and media pitches, with some receiving as many as 26 pitches per day. To stand out, it's important to offer something genuinely newsworthy and relevant. [3]

With these challenges in mind, what can PR professionals do to improve their media pitches? Here are five key considerations:

  1. Know your audience: Before crafting a media pitch, take the time to research the media outlet and journalist you are pitching to. What topics do they typically cover? What angles have they recently explored? What is their audience interested in? Tailor your pitch accordingly to increase your chances of success.
  2. Be newsworthy: As noted above, journalists and editors are bombarded with pitches daily. To stand out, your pitch needs to offer something that is truly newsworthy and relevant. Ask yourself: why should this story matter to the journalist and their audience?
  3. Be concise: According to Forbes, "a good pitch should be a few sentences at most." Get straight to the point, and highlight the key takeaways of your story. Avoid long introductions and statistics that may be irrelevant to the journalist.
  4. Personalize your pitch: Taking the time to personalize your pitch can make all the difference. Address the journalist by name, and reference a recent article they wrote that relates to your pitch. This shows that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in working with them.
  5. Follow-up: Don't be afraid to follow up on your pitch if you don't hear back right away. A friendly email or phone call can help keep your pitch top of mind and may even lead to a conversation that helps you refine your pitch further.

Remember, crafting compelling media pitches requires a combination of research, creativity, and persistence. By taking the time to understand your audience, offering something truly newsworthy, being concise, personalizing your pitch, and following up, you can increase your chances of success and build stronger relationships

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