As shifts from traditional to digital marketing occur, the role of media outreach has become more critical than ever. In fact, surveys have shown that 80% of B2B decision makers prefer to get information on a business through an article (Content Marketing Institute).
Brands today are built by the consumer experience. The way in which those experiences are communicated and shared, ultimately tells the value of any brand. To have value, brands must command attention, have authority, and inspire a conversation. The PR pitch or article pitch, while sometimes overlooked for more “sexy” marketing tactics, is a powerful mode of communicating brand value and establishing credibility in the marketplace. Media outlets and editors are barraged on a daily basis by writers, freelance journalists, and PR reps seeking to have their stories told and their articles published.
So, how do you write an effective article pitch that won’t be ignored, but compel a response? Start by following these four simple tips and tricks, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an article pitching pro.
As with any marketing approach, it’s always best to be strategic and have plan for executing your PR pitch. The foundation of any good pitch is a strong story. Assess your company’s strengths, and select a topic that aligns with your capabilities and business objectives. The aim of article pitching is to position your business as an authority/thought-leader in the field and increase brand visibility. To achieve this, develop content that speaks to your areas of expertise, and offer real value to the media outlet and its readers.
Successful pitches are a result of careful planning. Whether it’s your first pitch or your one thousandth, it’s never a good practice to send a pitch to just anyone. Depending on the nature of your story, your target audience, and your objectives, certain media outlets may be appropriate for your pitch while others are not. It’s important to remember that not all publications are necessarily right for your story. A recent survey of industry professionals, including publishers, editors, and journalists, showed that nearly 70% of them will reject or ignore a pitch if it appears irrelevant to their publication. So, make the effort to tailor your media list to each specific pitch. A pitch that aligns with the publication’s audience, coverage area, and subject matter is much more likely to result in a media pickup.
Make it Personal
If you want someone to take the time to read your pitch, take the time to develop and write it. Once you’ve established a content strategy and a list of media outlets, tailor your pitch to each reporter/editor and publication. Submission guidelines are provided for a reason, so use them to your advantage. They will often list the person you should get in contact with as well as provide some general tips on what they’re looking for and how-to pitch to them. Using a generic pitch may save you time upfront, but in the end, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
When you only have seconds to earn an editor’s attention, showing that you cared enough to learn about, and understand, their publication will help your pitch command attention. Consider leveraging a publication’s editorial calendar to enhance the strength of your pitch and media outreach efforts. This allows you connect your expertise to the focus of a future issue – demonstrating that your story is relevant to the specific publication.
Get to the Point
It’s important to be respectful of the other person’s time. Recognize that they are also very busy, so don’t waste their time and get to the point. A MuckRack survey found that 58% of journalists consider two to three paragraphs as an ideal length for pitches. Make your case quickly, but provide enough details so they don’t need to look for further information to determine if the story is worth their time.
Read, Reread & Proof
This one may seem obvious, but in the rush to meet deadlines or get things done, it can often be forgotten. You are trying to present yourself as an industry expert, so making a careless mistake like skipping spellcheck is one surefire way to get your pitch moved to the trash. Take the time to check, and double-check your work to ensure everything is spelled correctly, especially the name of the person you’re contacting, and the information you’ve provided is accurate.
Article placements are a powerful way to generate exposure for your business and establish yourself as a thought leader and credible authority in the marketplace.