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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.