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Pitching to Journalists and Authoritative Websites

by Jorja Winfield | 16.03.2016
A few of us from Tug recently attended the PR Newswire event, Meet The Media. The event was a chance for PR and communications professionals to listen to insights from leading media organisations. We got to hear from Ruth Lewry (Features Editor) and Abigail Radnor (Commissioning Editor) of The Guardian Weekend Magazine, who talked through the kind of content they are looking for and how they like to be approached.

It was an informative session and a great chance to find out the best way to get your pitches noticed by the people you wouldn’t normally get the chance to ask. The advice we received was certainly useful – especially when considering how to go about pitching your content to journalists or big publications.

Here’s a few things to consider when writing your next pitch:

Do your research – If you think your content would make a great addition to a website, explain why. Show them that you know their audience by reading their site and providing examples of similar themes or topics that they have already featured. It always helps to personalise your pitch to the person/publication you are reaching out to.

Keep to the point – It’s always good to keep your pitch as short and simple as possible, with all the important information covered. Don’t make the journalist search for your story, as Mikal E. Belicove suggests in this Forbes article, consider the five W’s (who, what, when, where, why) when writing your pitch.

Allow plenty of time – bigger websites or publications sometimes plan content up to 6 months in advance and work from content calendars. Keep in mind when pitching your ideas that they may take longer to publish or work on due to busy schedules.

Think differently – Journalists receive a huge amount of press releases and pitches each day, try to make yours stand out from the crowd. As Gorkana recently explained, you should make your first approach count – try to find a quirky angle that will grab the reader’s attention straight away.

Don’t chase – One point that The Guardian girls made very clear during the event was that chasing doesn’t work. There’s no point in ringing up 15 minutes after sending an email to see if they’ve read it, due to the amount of mail they receive each day they probably haven’t even read it yet!

Keep your content exclusive – Another point made during the event was to be honest in your pitch. If you are offering a website an exclusive piece of content then it should be exactly that, they may choose the scrap the idea if it’s published elsewhere.

You can find out more about PR Newswire’s Meet The Media events here.