Achieving the Perfect Pitch

August 27, 2018

Journalists are inundated with pitches, sometimes hundreds per day. So how can you make sure that yours rises to the top?

The Public Relations team offers a few tips to help give your pitch the highest chance of success:

  1. Focus on solution-based journalism. In our experience, today’s journalists crave stories of individuals or research that addresses a societal problem in a fresh way. Next time you send a proactive pitch, ask yourself if the pitch meets this criterion. If not, is there a way to do so?  
  2. Don’t discount the power of an email subject. The email subject to any pitch is often the gateway to successful placement. Word choice influences whether a journalist will breeze over it or look to learn more. Make sure to succinctly summarize what the story is about.
  3. For human-interest profiles, consider your audience. So you’ve identified a strong individual to profile. As you’re considering your media list, a question often left out is, where is the individual from? While placement in the Star Tribune might be the most desirable based on distribution, don’t be afraid to think geographically for human-interest stories. In fact, hyper-local community outlets can be just as effective when pitching targeted audiences.
  4. Attaching visuals helps. You’ve come across a fantastic story, written a great pitch and snappy email subject, and targeted the right publication, yet your pitch was passed over. Well, don’t underestimate the power of visuals. Attaching a subject matter headshot, renderings or a short video can be an easy, powerful way to distinguish your pitch from others and makes it that much easier for a journalist when it comes to publishing the story.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Public Relations team in University Relations at unews@umn.edu.