Pitching is an art. Here are some best practices you can follow to increase the chances of landing a pitch.
1. Make Sure Your News Is Newsworthy
If you want to get someone to cover your story, it’s worth asking yourself these two questions before you even think about pitching the media outlet: Is my news actually newsworthy? Is my news presented in an exciting way that will get people interested? At the end of the day, not all research is noteworthy for the media.
2. Knock On The Right Doors
In the media, individual journalists have their own specializations (a.k.a. their “beat”). Instead of sending your pitch to the general email address of a news outlet, address it to the person most relevant to the subject you’re writing about. In other words: make sure you’re knocking on the right doors before you start knocking.
3. Connect The Pitch To The News Cycle
The “when” of your media pitch should also be as strategic as possible. This is particularly critical if you are pitching an op-ed. How does this piece fit in with the news that is unfolding now?
4. Create A Compelling Introduction
You have just a second or two to hook them emotionally, so make it count. “There are 10 quintillion bugs on the planet, and their numbers keep growing, so they must be up to something, right? They are.”
5. Avoid Jargon
When emailing story ideas and in interviews, avoid industry-related jargon. Speak more casually for those who are totally unfamiliar with a particular area of research but be prepared to expand and get technical if needed.
6. Keep Them Interested
Most stories in the media are based on some form of conflict—a problem that affects their audience in some significant way. Keep it simple and clear, state the problem and explain exactly how it impacts their audience.
7. Consider Multiple Voices
Many pieces need multiple, diverse and inclusive voices to tell a broader story. A good story idea often goes beyond one immediate viewpoint, so understand your perspective might end up being one component of a larger story.
8. Be Ready
On-camera availability: When sending something out, have your researcher(s) ready to speak on camera as soon as possible. And don't pitch to a weekend radio show if your researcher isn't available on weekends.