What is Media Pitch?
A media pitch is a short email that outlines the relevance and newsworthiness of a story. It is sent to a journalist or an editor of a newspaper, magazine, blog or television station with the aim to arouse interest in the story and to ask if they would want to write about it.
In its simplistic form, a media pitch is: your ‘ask’.
You have some relevant story (say, interesting data on your industry) worthy of piquing the curiosity of your target journalist and you ask them (through an email) if they would be interested in writing an article about it or mentioning it in their regular stories.
Seems simple, right?
So why is it confusing, even petrifying, for an entrepreneur like you?
This is crazy:
As an entrepreneur you have built a great product, survived many failures and disappointments on your way, managed global teams, and even raised millions of dollars from investors.
When it comes to writing a simple email to a journalist?
You hem and haw.
You decide to shell out big bucks to hire experts!
Is Writing a Media Pitch Difficult?
Writing an effective media pitch that gets a journalist to respond is not difficult or complex.
But there’s a catch…
Journalist and Forbes contributor Mikal E. Belicove, who shifts through two dozen pitches a day, says most of them are fatally flawed. “…pitches that serve no real purpose, or news announcements that have no basis in fact, or bulletins that make preposterous claims,” says Belicove in 13 Do’s And Don’ts When Pitching To The Media.
Journalists receive dozens of pitches in a day and therefore only look at those that are relevant, newsworthy, brief, structured and timely.
Your media pitch needs to be exactly that!
In this post, I’ll give you 5 tips to craft the best media pitch.
I’ll also share examples of what a good media pitch looks like plus provide ready-to-use pitch email templates.
Ready? Let’s roll!
Before we begin, here’s a brief look at the structure of a media pitch.
Structure of a Media Pitch
An effective media pitch makes a journalist sit up and take notice of your content. It also enables them to easily spin a story for their readers.
Here’s how an effective media pitch is structured:
- You start with the lead. This is your news peg or why your story is newsworthy.
- Next, put your call-to-action. This is what you want your target journalist to do – write a product review, conduct an interview, mention your company is an industry story. It is essential that you make your intention as clear as possible.
- Then define your value proposition. In this section you show the journalist why they should be interested in your story. You demonstrate the value of your offering by differentiating yourself from hundreds of other pitches they receive daily.
- Conclude your email with a thanks and recap your call-to-action. Don’t forget to mention your name and contact details – email, phone number – so that the journalist can connect with you if they need more details.
5 Tips on How to Write an Effective Media Pitch (Plus Examples & Templates)
Media Pitch Tip#1: Identify the Right Journalists
Make a list of prospects – journalists, writers and media sources.
This list can be as extensive or as limited as your resources permit.
Your prospect list will depend on the kind of content you’re trying to promote.
If the content is of interest to a broad audience, it might fit well on any of the large news/entertainment blogs (think Buzzfeed, HuffPost, etc.).
For more specialized content (say, a study on content marketing trends), you’ll want to target industry-specific publications and influencers.
A quick tip: When looking for targets, it’s always a good idea to focus on engagement than traffic.
It’s better to get a feature on a site with 1,000 readers who share your content than a site with 1M readers that has no engagement.
Here are few strategies to find high quality prospects:
1) Find sites that are linking to similar content
Find similar content and see who all have linked to it. This is an easy way to discover targets.
For example, if you plan to do a study on “content marketing trends”, you can Google this keyword, see the top results, and plug them into your favorite SEO tool.
Add relevant modifiers like “study”, “research”, “data”, etc. to this keyword to narrow down your results.
Here is how Rod Smith, CEO of Verum does his keyword research:
“I usually take about 20 minutes every week to come up with a new list of keywords for searching journalists based on the news of the day.”
2) Use Nuzzel
Nuzzel is a great tool for finding curated content on popular topics. Use it to discover influencers, top stories and trending publications.
3) Use JustReachOut
JustReachOut is really relevant to find high quality prospects as it gives you a list of journalists who have written about your specific topic, not just publishers.
To use JustReachOut, just search for your target keywords (say, “bitcoin”) and you’ll see a list of journalists and bloggers along with their contact details. You can send them an email pitch directly through JustReachOut.
Once you have a list of journalists who write about your niche or industry regularly, send them an email to get on their radar.
For example, you can send an email appreciating a journalist’s work. Appreciation emails work well when sending an email for the first time. It also ensures journalists remember your name.
Media Pitch Template for Appreciation Email
Subject: Re: Loved your article about <insert the topic which they wrote about>
Hi <first name of journalist>,
I’ve been following your blog for the past 3 years, so many great insights!
Your recent post about <insert the topic which they wrote about> really resonated with me.
I followed it step-by-step and I found it <insert the results you got in few words>.
You can read my post about it here: <insert URL of your own post>
If you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to share it with your audience.
Thanks for sharing your can’t-find-anywhere-else tips with the community.
Media Pitch Tip#2: Build a Relationship
Here’s the deal:
To get the best results from your media pitch you need to start a conversation with journalists before you pitch to them.
You need a “personalized conversation starter” to get build your rapport and get the relationship going.
These conversation starters can be built by:
- Following the journalist on Twitter
- Sharing their posts
- Commenting on their published stories
- Offering objective insights regarding their stories in the comments
Want to know the best part?
These steps will ensure that your first email will not look like coming from a total stranger. You will have something “personal” to talk about in that first email.
Even if the journalist doesn’t immediately recognize your name, you can refer to your existing ‘relationship’ in the email.
A quick tip: Your first contact should be in accordance to your established rapport with the journalist. If you’ve had a conversation online, the tone can be warmer.
However, if you’ve followed them, commented on their articles, and shared their posts without any acknowledgement, be more formal.
For example, you can send them an email correcting a typo in one of their recent articles or share some research data or insight you have about a topic they write about. Ask for their feedback.
Here’s an example of a typo email sent to Sujan Patel to build a relationship:
Media Pitch Template for Typo Email
Subject: Typo in your article
Hi <first name of journalist>,
Respect your reporting a great deal, love the stories you put out. Crazy to think that there are more people using mobile vs. desktop now.
Saw that you have a few spelling mistakes in your recent article, wanted to follow up:
“The project, which was was announced”
“The content will be uses for The New York Times”
Looking forward to your next stories.
Which article are you working on next?
Media Pitch Tip#3: Personalize Your Pitch
Apart from a killer subject line, your media pitch needs to:
- Demonstrate that you regularly read and are familiar with the media outlet.
- Show you have read articles written by the journalist/ editor (Mention individual articles and pull quotes from within.)
- Prove you have an understanding of the media source’s readership as well as what topics and stories are most valuable and shared.
- Clearly align your provided statistics, insight, or information with the reporter’s current beat, interests, and most popular articles (Make it easy for them to see the reason you’re contacting them and why they should be happy about it.)
- Provide them with all the details they need to make an immediate decision about the information and you as a reputable source (Provide your email, phone number, links to referred information as well as any applicable references to your expertise.)
A quick tip: Email endings are just as important as the first sentence.
It gets better:
An interesting sign off to your email will not only leave a favorable impression on your recipient but also increase your chances of a response.
Read these 80 powerful email endings to make people remember you.
Although you must initiate a conversation and build a rapport before pitching to a writer, if you do plan to send a cold email, take a look at these 26 cold email templates.
You can also try these 40 cold email tips that guarantee a response.
Here’s an example of a personalized media pitch email:
Media Pitch Template with Personalization
Subject: Re: Shared your recent article on <insert topic>
Hi <first name of journalist>
Being an avid reader of <insert name of publication> <insert name of niche> section, I’ve ‘knitted through’ (haha) several of your articles of late.
As per my Twitter share and comment, I was especially affected by your story on <insert topic>.
<Insert URL of article>
I know providing <add details on what the recent article written by the journalist talks about in a few words, for example: parenting information, especially regarding young children, is close to your heart and position as a pediatrician.>
I thought you may be interested in the following statistics about <enter topic> as my company has been collecting data on such over the last five years.
Let me know if you would like more details.
Media Pitch #4: Have a Great Hook
Journalists love to read new content in areas they write about regularly. They give emphasis on email pitches that have relevant news pegs.
If you can align your media pitch to a big news story or share content that is related to their recently published work, it can work wonders.
If you are sharing relevant content, make sure it is:
- Highly related to their previous work.
- Obscure enough that they might not have read it themselves.
- An interesting or controversial take on the topic but from a reputable source.
Here’s an example media pitch sharing relevant content:
Media Pitch Template for Relevant Content
Subject: Interactive Map of Weed Legalization in Canada
Hi <first name of journalist>,
I was looking for some info about legalization of marijuana in Canada and came across your recent article on the topic. You have some great data on history of legalization and current status for each province as of now
Actually, I just put together an interactive map with a map of Canada showing where it’s legal and where it has not passed, I thought you might find it useful.
Let me know if you want to check it out?
Media Pitch #5: Follow up
This is a oft-forgotten yet crucial step.
Once you have sent your media pitch, wait for a reply or schedule a follow-up several days later.
Most reporters and professionals are busy people with a lot of their plate. So it is usual that they may have missed your first pitch email. Sending a follow-up email can you bump you to the top of your recipient’s inbox.
Keep moving your targets from the “Emailed Journalist” to “Connected With Journalist” so you can see in one glance who answered and who needs a nudge.
If the journalist uses your information and its source, great news. Thank them for using your content and keep the conversation rolling.
On the other hand, he may not be interested in that particular content or information at that moment.
In that case, keep communication channels open and continue to build your rapport for future opportunities.
If you don’t get any replies to your media pitches, assess where the process went wrong. Did you:
- Select the right media outlet and person of interest
- Provide value regarding a timely and popular topic
- Make it easy for the recipient to get to relayed information (copy and paste versus providing attachments or making recipients click a URL.)
Here’s an example of a follow-up media pitch email:
Re: New data about online shopping habits – interested?
I wanted to follow up since I know things get lost sometimes.
We ran a study analyzing Amazon bestsellers from the past five years and found some really interesting trends, including:
– Women authors sell on average 4X as many books as male ones
– But there are more male authors than female ones in almost every category…Excluding horror and fantasy (!)
I think [publication’s] readers might find these results interesting. Happy to provide details if you’d like.
Media Pitch Template for Follow-up Email
Hi <name of journalist>,
If you’re looking for a story for [next week, the weekend, to fill a gap in your editorial calendar], this [study, post, interview with X person] might work well.
What do you think?
Pro Tip: A lot rides on the timing of your media pitch email. A general consensus is Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to send pitch emails.
Another thing to keep in mind is the best time to send pitch emails. Media pitches sent between 08:00 – 09:00 usually have the most click-throughs.
Lastly, ensure that the media pitch reaches the journalist when it’s the right time in their time zone, not yours.
Over to You
Pitching to the media is not as complicated, daunting, or intimidating as you may think.
In fact, it can be as easy as sharing information you know will be appreciated by a colleague.
Know what your target publication, their writers and readers deem as important news then go ahead and create valuable content for them.
Next, initiate a personalized conversation with your prospect journalist and go ahead and make your pitch.
Follow these steps and see your response rates soar!