PR professionals work with journalists through media pitches and for interviews, so it’s important to know how to interact with journalists to present your client in the best light.
Strong media pitches are integral to gaining earned media for your client. The story must be engaging and have real value to an outlet’s target audience.
Picking an engaging topic is the most important aspect of the media pitch; make the most of it. Your subject line and the first two sentences will likely be the deciding factor for journalists. If they are uninterested in your story, even if you have chosen the right topic, they will likely stop reading after the first paragraph. Because of this, put your most interesting information at the top, and continue to write in the order of importance.
When writing your pitch, be sure to stay focused on the angle of the article, not your client’s interests. Remember– editors must find importance in the story, not your client. Draft your media pitch as a story and insert quotes from your client referencing the main issue. Be sure to include a name, job title, and description of the company/organization in the quote. For example, “Forest fires are a major concern for our planet,” said Jane Doe, CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental protection.
Additionally, pr pros should prepare their client for a media interview. The most important lesson for your client is poise: be calm and answer questions clearly. Many journalists will use a recording device; do not let this intimidate your client. Remind them to stop and think before answering; the pauses are not typed.
If a question asked presents your client in a negative light, remind them they do not have to answer that question directly. Reporters publish interview responses, not the questions. Remind your client that they should respond to these negative questions with an answer that sounds good on its own, not necessarily one that answers the question exactly.
Final tip: check out our blog post on the importance of accurate media lists. Need help with your pitch or preparing for an interview. Contact us!
About the author: Devon Rudolph is a senior at Robinson Secondary in Fairfax, Va. She plans to study journalism in college and was a summer intern for BWG.