The Future of News Communication

Article | Wed March 15, 2017, 07:42 PM EST

  • PitchBoard by NEWSLINE360

    PitchBoard by NEWSLINE360

March 16, 2017 -- It is no surprise that the preferred way for journalists to receive a pitch is through email.  This is the preferred method over any other type of medium (telephone, fax, letter, social, etc.). Forty-seven percent of journalists surveyed said that they received over 25 unsolicited emails per day; 16% said they receive over 100!

If you want to cut through the clutter, you need to craft an artful pitch. With a few tips and a bit of useful information, you can more successfully pitch the media and gain the coverage you seek.

Elements to consider:

  1. Headline and subject line
  2. The Pitch. Stick to your story
  3. Pitch format and Length
  4. Substantiating material

Headline and Subject Line

These are the most critical components of your pitch. If your headline and subject are not compelling, accurate and concise, the receiver of your pitch will not even bother continuing to read

Keep your headline to an ideal length. According to an article at Marketing Sherpa, the ideal subject length for a headline is between 61-70 characters. This equates to approximately 15 words.

You also should keep in mind that you are pitching journalists and that “click-bait” type phrasing—a web marketing technique that uses sensationalist headlines and subject lines designed to gain click-throughs—is strictly frowned upon by journalists. If you are not familiar with what click-bait type phrasing is, you don’t have to look too far in your social media to see headlines that have such phrases as “You’ll never believe what happened next when….” or “This is the biggest mistake you could make….”

The Pitch.

Make the job of the reporter easy. Be succinct. Be relevant. Use bullet points to convey important key messages.

Do not use buzzwords. Stick to the facts. Keep your information basic and to the point without using jargon that could turn off your reader. Stay on point; don’t write fluff.

Fewer words can make for a better pitch. Remember, with PitchBoard by NEWSLINE360™, you can attach your full press release to your pitch as well as other information to substantiate your pitch.

Pitch format and length

Everybody likes whitespace. There are varying articles online that mention an ideal length of a pitch to be between 20 words and 100 words. Some say two paragraphs, some mention three paragraphs. Although no one group has enforced one standard, three paragraphs would be pushing it. Our advice is to keep your story points as short as possible, making sure you include the “big idea” of your story. Bullet points can help to keep your pitch efficient and main points organized.

As we’ve said before, stick to the facts, tell them what you’ve got, what it does and what it solves. Practical information beats buzzwords every time, so ‘unique’, ‘revolutionary’ and ‘game-changing’ can be left at the door.

Remember, there are no guarantees that journalists will cover every story you pitch, as the number of pitches they receive can be quite overwhelming. But by using the above guidelines, your story will be much more likely to get noticed and receive the coverage it deserves.

Pitch timing

Most journalists say they like to be pitched story ideas early in the week and in the morning, according to recent research from Business Wire. The report was based on data from a survey of 600+ members of the media living in 40+ countries.

Respondents work across various verticals, including B2B/trade news, business/finance news, local/national news, lifestyle/entertainment news, and consumer products/services news, both here and abroad.

Key findings from the Business Wire survey include:

• Tuesday (34%) morning (61%) is the best time to pitch media, and Thursday (7%) evening (9%) is the worst time to pitch

• The top three social platforms have held steady the past three years: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; Twitter is No. 1, but for the first time in three years Facebook and LinkedIn tied for the No. 2 place

• Use of YouTube had the largest year over increase at 25%

• Interviews (51%) are the No. 1 video type most desired by journalists

• 45% of journalists care about the social reach of a source or company

75% of journalists refer to an online newsroom when researching an organization

Using Social Media for Pitching

One of the most disruptive things that has happened to the public relations profession in the pass few years is the mass adoption of social media. More than 95 percent of journalists report to using social media everyday. The leading platform used by journalists for research is Twitter at 59%. Facebook and LinkedIn share the second stop at 57%. All of this being said, they use social media for research and prefer email pitches above all. According to Sean Donnelly of Hypertext, the general sentiment from reporters is that they prefer NOT to be pitched via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social platforms at all. They prefer that the competition and other story sources not be public.

Article | Wed March 15, 2017, 07:42 PM EST

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