Media Pitches and Coffee Talk with Michael SmartBy Daniel Schiller

By all accounts flacks outnumber the journalists and bloggers we seek to inform by a five-to-one factor.

At the same time, we are all keenly aware of new media’s business model and insatiable appetite for content.

These forces work against the journalist, and they don’t do much for us PR folk either.

They result in a dynamic that perpetuates and reinforces spray-and-pray media relations.

Yet publishing is more diverse and complex than those reports suggest. True enough that writers at sites such as Gawker and Huffington Post crank out 10 or more stories each day. But when you look at the key indicators, a more nuanced view quietly emerges.

Journalists are people just like us—they have limited capacity, time, and resources to develop stories. Sixty percent of writers publish two or fewer stories each day, and within that segment, 40 percent publish one.

It is not uncommon for well-known bloggers to receive 20 media pitches per day; some the most popular receive a 100 or more.


At the extremes that comes out to 500 media pitches per week for 10 story spots.

But unsolicited media pitches aren’t going away.

We hope (that’s what it is, really) that carefully crafted pitch will offer a pathway to build relationships.

Media Pitches are Hard for Everyone

A good media pitch should be hard to write. It requires thought, consideration, and creativity. It needs to inform, inspire, and relate—and, given your business that may not come naturally.

Media pitches are hard to receive, too. Not only is the volume unmanageable, they are often off-topic.

So how does a writer identify what has value? Better, yet, when a deadline looms, how can the journalist identify the information they need?

There are many ways to miss the mark. And, people just don’t reply like they once did.

The Answer is to Make Your Media Pitches Better

In case you missed it, Michael Smart (yes, that Michael Smart) got together with the crackerjack Spin Sucks team for a webinar last week called, Pitching Secrets of the New Media Relations Superstars.

If you did miss it, the archived version is right here.

Are you a pitch superstar already? If you are, this webinar is still worth a view. It will validate how fabulous you are.

But it won’t kill you to take a critical look at your schtick. And that’s to say nothing of the media list that got you to that pitch.

The pitch you see, might not be what you think it is.

Some of the points Michael addresses:

  • Tailor your media list
  • Get creative
  • Be useful
  • Pick up the phone

Pick Up the Phone

Whoa, pick up the phone? Is this 1987? Didn’t I just read in Cision “no phone calls—ever!” Controversial stuff for sure, I know.

It makes sense because it’s 2015 and most of us are tethered to these things called iPhones.

But what if a writer answers? Well, Michael helps you tailor your spiel.

This blows my mind, but the genius of the tried-and-true phone call is that it is hard to hang up on someone. When was the last time you did? Most of us have a shred of respect for live humans on the other end.

The best part is that Michael only scratched the surface. See for yourself.

And, who knows, maybe Michael will tell us what I missed.

image credit: Ollyy

Daniel Schiller

Daniel is a social media/communications strategist, copywriter, community builder, and raconteur. A life-long student, he is fascinated with the craft of community building to foster meaningful exchanges.

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