How to Improve Your Pitches

April 29, 2024
Kelly McNees

It’s relatable to hear how overwhelmed journalists are: 50% receive more than 50 pitches each week. Marketers’ workdays are just as full as the reporters we’re hoping will cover our firms!

It’s important to recognize how we can help make journalists’ jobs easier and, in turn, get our firms media coverage. According to a Cision survey, 73% of journalists say that only a quarter — or less! — of the pitches they receive are relevant.

Carefully target your pitches to make sure they’re relevant to the specific reporters you target. Here are five tips on crafting data-driven pitches that will succeed.

  1. Know who you’re talking to. Make sure your pitch resonates by doing your research on whether it’s a topic the journalist covers or is of interest to his or her primary audience. Keep in mind that 78% of journalists block marketers and PR professionals who spam them with irrelevant pitches. Demonstrate that you’re paying attention to the journalist’s work by mentioning a piece that he or she recently wrote and what you liked about it.
  2. Make your pitch stand out. Curate your pitch to make it easy for journalists to tell the story you want them to share. Add expert sources and original research, such as trends or market data, to your pitch alongside fun facts and quotes. Also, include a couple image or video attachments. Just make sure the files aren’t too large to clog inboxes.
  3. Build connections. Personalizing pitches is a good start to relationship building. The next step is to build on the momentum of a successful pitch in a natural, organic way. Use social media to follow what journalists are writing about and what they’re interested in. Interacting on social channels by writing thoughtful comments on posts can help foster connections and strengthen real relationships over time.
  4. Request feedback. Once you develop a solid relationship with a journalist, ask for his or her thoughts on your pitching process. Use this feedback — along with metrics such as open rates and click-throughs — to help refine your pitching process and make it more effective.
  5. Follow the “one and done” rule. Even if you’ve done your research and customized your pitch, it may not resonate. Worth noting: 58% of journalists agree that marketers and PR professionals should only follow up on a pitch once. If you follow up and the journalist isn’t engaging, move on.

If you haven’t updated your pitching skills in a while, give these tips a try. It takes more time to build relationships with journalists, but the payoff can be worth it. In this challenging environment, relying on a PR professional who has great relationships with reporters is a valuable tactic in the effort to drive visibility for your firm.