National media pitching is often perceived as the most difficult type of media outreach. Sure, it’s a different scale and a much larger audience, but it requires the same level of skill, finesse, and attention to detail as local or regional media pitching.
At Scooter Media, we’re constantly contacting and connecting with media at a local, regional, and national level, and we’ve learned a couple of things along the way. Check out some of our tips for national media pitching to ensure your pitch results in the media coverage your story deserves:
Brush Up on Best Practices
Research, research, and then do some more research. Does the reporter cover the beat for the story you’re pitching? Is that publication really the best target for the brand’s audience? Get to know the journalist, the publications, and the publication’s readers to ensure your pitch is being shared with the right people and in the right places.
It also pays dividends to present the larger story when possible. You should think beyond your client’s latest menu offering announcement and include appropriate data or resources that a writer can dig into for additional context. Finding a unique story angle that presents a larger story idea can help entice a reporter. Don’t just tell them about your brand — explain how the story fits into their world. Make sure the news is relevant to them and reposition your pitch angles when necessary to ensure you’re sharing the most relevant story possible for the outlet’s audience.
Also, be sure that your pitches are personal. Starting off a pitch with “I think you’re doing a wonderful job” or “I’ve been reading your work” goes a long way in the eyes of journalists. A simple compliment or acknowledgment of the work that the reporter is doing can strengthen your relationship with the reporter you’re trying to secure coverage with.
Finally, keep your pitches short and simple. Reporters are incredibly busy and it’s crucial that you get to your point quickly and clearly. According to Muckrack, 91% of journalists prefer pitches under 200 words.
Avoid These Common Media Relations Mistakes
Have you ever read an article and thought to yourself, “My client would’ve been a perfect source for this article!” but find yourself reading about your client’s competitors instead? When pitching national media outlets, there are mistakes to avoid that can help you earn that media placement you’ve been trying to secure.
One major pitfall to avoid when reaching out to media is including Attachments in pitch emails. Emails containing attachments are often auto-filtered to go to a journalist’s spam folder, meaning that pitch you spent two hours working on will never see the light of day.
Instead, try an electronic media kit. The goal of a media kit is to provide a kind of “one-stop-shop” for everything the journalist might need to tell your story — such as high-res images, your brand’s logo, videos, a press release, or even headshots of your company’s thought leadership team. Make it easy for your media contacts to get the information they need and keep it simple.
Another mistake to avoid? Boring subject lines. Most media pitches that lack strong subject lines are deleted and never read. A good subject line garners interest.
When writing a subject line, think like you’re a journalist writing a news headline. What’s something the publication’s readers would be interested in? Maybe it’s something like “This new sushi trend has taken Northern Kentucky by storm.” That’s an email your recipient will likely be enticed to open.
If possible, consider offering exclusive information in your subject line. Journalists want to be the first ones to cover a story. A subject line that begins with “Exclusive” or offers an interview with an expert often helps. You could also include an expert as a source for the story. Does your pitch angle contain research or access to an industry leader who holds the answers to common questions? The subject line of your pitch is a fantastic place to include these details.
Take Your Pitch to the Next Level with Newsjacking
As a PR pro, you should always keep your eyes peeled for potential newsjacking opportunities. Newsjacking is when you connect your brand’s pitch to a timely news event to create a strong story angle. Keep a pulse on what’s happening in your client’s target industry and on what’s happening in the world.
If something really important happened in your client’s industry, see if there’s a unique opportunity to ride the popularity wave of the breaking story — just be aware that the popularity of news stories usually declines pretty quickly. However, the impact of seizing the trending news could make a major statement for your client.
Other tips for find newsjacking opportunities include: listening to podcasts related to your client’s industry, reading industry news, following social media accounts talking about your target industries, and subscribing to email newsletters about your industry. Even just bookmarking a few sites relevant to your industry and checking them each morning is a great way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening so that you don’t miss a beat on the latest news.
Keep Up with Media Moves
Another gamechanger for national media pitching is the Cision Media Moves newsletter. This newsletter is a super helpful tool that shares recent editorial staff moves for national and regional media. The Cision research team makes 20,000 media updates to our influencer database each day. Subscribing to this newsletter is an easy way to stay up-to-date with all of your media contacts, and you can even opt to receive daily alerts of the latest moves.
(By the way, Cision Media Moves also has a Twitter page you can follow if you want even more in-the-moment updates!)
Focus on Friendship
As a PR pro, you know the power of relationship-building and probably already work with many reporters or journalists. But sometimes it isn’t enough just to have a journalist’s contact information to secure the coverage that you want. You should take it a step further and actually befriend your media contacts.
Find reporters and journalists you frequently work with on the social media platforms that they are using so that you can follow and engage with them. Like their posts, leave comments, and incorporate what they are sharing on social into your next pitch. It’s a great way to personalize your pitches and ensure that you’re forming deeper connections with your media contacts, resulting in better relationships that will score you the PR placements of your dreams.
Throw Us Your Best Pitch
Do you have your own pitching tips that you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment on one of our social media channels, or tweet us at @ScooterMedia with your tip.
Looking for PR and media relations tips? Start off by reading “Six Tips for Making the Most Out of Your PR Placement,” then check out “How to Avoid a Wild Public Relations Pitch.”