Pitching Stories Like an Expert

Without good skills in relationship building, a good pitch strategy falls flat. Agility recently shared their nine best tips for pitching—both how to structure a pitch itself, and how to develop the interpersonal skills needed to make it stick. Practice these steps to improve your pitch game:

  1. Be concise
  • Research done by Agility shows that the average length of emails that received high click-through numbers were 620 words. Get to the point, and show journalists why they should be interested in your story.
  • Be flexible
    • Pitching, just like building relationships, should not be a static process. Be open to criticism, changes and suggestions—collaboration brings out the best from all parties.
  • Be understanding
    • Whether a pitch simply doesn’t fit what a journalist is looking for or your email gets buried in someone’s inbox, don’t be discouraged about a lack of immediate response. The right time to follow-up may depend on the type of media, but as article author Joy Knowles says: “learn when to let go.”
  • Be trustworthy
    • Putting your professional reputation in danger in order to make rapid progress with a pitch is never worth the risk. Trust is the foundation of both your relationship with journalists and the quality of the journalism created.
  • Be early
    • Deadlines and pressures for journalists may be different based on the type of media they work in, but regardless, one fact remains true: more time to prepare is always better than less.
  • Be thoughtful
    • In the words of Knowles, “Think about [your relationship with journalists] in terms of giving, not receiving.” You both have ties, duties, and responsibilities to parties outside of yourself—understanding where journalists come from is key to creating solid ground.
  • Be cautious with multimedia
    • Spam filters are notorious for catching emails with attachments and/or links. Agility surveys show that most PR professionals—57%—use file sharing platforms instead.
  • Be thorough
    • Putting in the heavy lifting at the start of an interaction saves time down the road. The easier you make it for a journalist to work with you, the better both the process and the outcome will be.
  • Be interested
    • While landing a pitch may seem like the be-all, end-all—don’t forget that at the core of your work is developing relationships. Being curious and helpful without an end goal goes a long way in building trust.