How to write email news pitches that WOW the media

Small business owners are often at a loss about how to capitalize on PR to promote their latest offerings to a much larger audience.

The simple fact is there is nothing mysterious about how to pitch a reporter your latest news. Yes, there are some common rules of the PR game to remember when pitching. Still, it’s not rocket science. Trust me, I do it all the time and I’m a former English Major. I did minor in theoretical physics, though…just kidding.

To help you win media coverage that will bring more business to your doorstep, here are 10 easy-to-follow tips for helping you write your next email news pitch:

  1. Is anything happening? What is happening (or about to happen) at your business that is new, unique, or exciting? Have you won an award, passed a major milestone, or expanded your leased space? Any of these would make a great pitch.
  2. National news trends. Can you tie what is happening at your small business to a much larger news trend currently in the headlines? For instance, is Obamacare something that will impact our business favorably, unfavorably or otherwise? Let your local media know you’re willing to go on record.
  3. Add some sizzle! Make sure your pitch is brief and packs a punch. You have about 5 seconds to ‘set the hook’ in the reporters imagination so use words that paint an exciting picture.
  4. Who cares? Your news pitch should help the reporter see why his or her audience will want to know more. Do some research to help you zero in on what matters most to the journalist your about to pitch.
  5. High Impact. Go for impact, either in numbers or qualitatively speaking. If you’re dealing with TV, make sure your story is visual as they have to be able to tell a story with video. Radio wants audio, so in your pitch mention the different opportunities to get live interviews and tell a story with sound.
  6. Pretty bow on top. Fully develop your story idea when pitching the media. TV reporters want a person to interview who has been impacted by the news so be sure to have somebody standing by. Print writers often like to hear about another company doing something similar (or opposite) to have an alternative opinion and completely round out the story. Provide all of that in your pitch and you’re well on your way.
  7. 5 Ws. When pitching a busy reporter you shoud answer the Who, What, Where, When and Why about the story. Be consice, and even consider using each of the 5 Ws as a bold caption as the actual email itself – especially if you are highlighting an event such as a fundraiser.
  8. Subject line: To even get opened, your pitch email would do well to have “Story Idea:” or “Story Pitch:” in the subject line, followed by a very concise description of your news. With hundreds of pitches coming across some reporter inboxes, a strong subject line is often the difference between getting read and getting deleted.
  9. Get to the point: Related to the 5 Ws above, jump right to the point when pitching a reporter your latest news. Keep the sentences and paragraphs short. Also, don’t overuse industry jargon as not every reporter will know what you’re talking about.
  10. 10.   Don’t sell: many business owners not familiar with PR often fall into the trap of talking to reporters like they are a sales prospect. There’s a big difference between sharing facts about your business and reciting your corporate brochure. Stick to facts you can substantiate and try not to use overly subjective descriptions.

If you have any questions about what’s newsworthy or what constitutes a good pitch then drop me a line or leave a comment below.

Happy pitching!

About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded an Austin PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009. Dave Manzer is one of the only agencies in the country specializing in technology, healthcare and energy PR to provide blended performance-based pricing. To contact Dave directly, please email him at dave(@)davemanzer.com.

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