Pitching and Building Media Relationships

June 24, 2019

By Allison Klingsick
Senior Account Executive

When people hear “pitching,” they usually have visions of Nolan Ryan and 100mph fastballs. (As an avid baseball fan, I can relate.) But in the public relations industry, pitching is the process of sharing news and story ideas with reporters, which can be just as intimidating.

A press release sharing company news is often seen as the only way to pitch media, and while the press release is still an effective tool, it’s not the only way to connect with journalists. The main purpose of media pitching is to go beyond just sharing your company’s news and truly build a relationship with local and industry media.

Pitchers have to know when to use a fastball, a curveball or knuckleball. Having an arsenal of angles and stories to pitch the media depending on current trends and situations can help you be a trusted resource for reporters. Thinking outside of the box can take your pitching to the next level.

Put me in coach; I can throw strikes

Once you have your pitching topic in mind, here a few best practices to consider to make sure you get the pitch over the plate.

Write concisely. With the sheer volume of emails they receive, journalists want the key information in the least amount of words.

Write cleanly. Proof, and proof again, to catch any typos or mistakes, as these can turn a reporter off quickly.

Develop a catchy subject. The subject line needs to grab a reporter’s attention, so it isn’t lost in their inbox.

Identify the right person. Research and ensure your pitch goes to the correct reporter because they only cover what’s in their specific beat, so sending a business technology story to the consumer technology reporter won’t make a difference, no matter how well it’s written.

Include visuals. Images and other visuals help the reporter understand the story and how it can be told.

Follow up. If you don’t receive a response in a few days, sending a short follow-up note puts the pitch at the top of the reporter’s inbox and gives another response opportunity.

While these tips probably won’t make you the next Cy Young winner, they can help you better connect with journalists and hopefully generate increased media coverage.

Need more? Watch the Two Minutes with Sunwest video on “Pitching”