How to pitch to journalists in the current digital age
By Ellie Chadd.
The Wild Card execs experienced an evening of insight last week, as some of the industry’s finest young writers shared their knowledge of how to pitch to journalists in the current digital age. Leading journalists, Angelica Malin of About Time Magazine and Chantal Borciani of High50, shared the dos and don’ts of pitching to journalists in the fast paced world of consumer communications and media relations.
Essentially media relations is about building individual relationships and trust. Its a power game and therefore it is important to communicate the information in the best way possible the first time around. So what did they recommend?
Step one: – Court the journalist. Flattery will get you a long way and its best to win them over with a winning meeting spot. We are talking juice bars and flashy coffee shops here. Ask them where they would like to meet and at what time. Use a language such as ‘work together’ and ‘help each other’. Timing is also key; make it apparent that you won’t be bombarding them and let them know how long you will be meeting for.
Once you have got them face-to-face, step two: – It is crucial to listen, take notes and prove that your information is interesting and worthwhile. Show that you are following their career and read up on previous features or articles. Stalk their social channels and suggest where your product might work best in their publication. Ask what is easiest for them, what day they go to print and how they would like to receive the information. WeTransfer or Dropbox? PDF or Word doc? How far ahead do you work? Who is your target audience? What kind of information do you like to receive? These are questions that are key to making a good first impression.
Step three: – When emailing a journalist, make sure your subject line is really clear, i.e. Recipes or NEW products. Do not waste their time, clearly state what you selling in and how it will be useful to them. Give it passion and flair, persuade the journalist that it will work for them. Use the format they like and the font. Do not be afraid to chase the journalist for a date, but do not overload their inbox and never use WhatsApp!
And finally, do NOT pitch on a Monday morning!
All these rules and tips are key to getting your foot in the door and coverage out in the media. Both journalists reinforced that if you pitch with passion you are sure to succeed in the current digital age.