Media Relations is Not about the Pitch—it’s about WHO You Pitch

If you search for media relations, or PR pitching tips on the web, you’re bound to come up with no less than a dozen articles explaining how to craft the perfect PR pitch.

These articles will tell you how long the email should be, what time of day to send it, and what to include.

But have you stopped to think that it might not be about the pitch itself, but about WHO you’re sending it to?

You could spend weeks working your media relations efforts, crafting the perfect pitch, doing research, and putting together a work of art, but after all that time and effort, the truth is, if you send it to the wrong reporter, no one will ever see it.

Too often, more attention is paid to the pitch itself than to whom it’s sent.

So let’s talk for a minute about who should receive that perfectly crafted pitch.

To Whom Should You Send Your Perfectly Crafted Pitch

Ideally, the process of determining whom you target with media relations should start—wait for it—BEFORE you even write the pitch.

If you’re writing the pitch with a particular reporter in mind, it’s going to be so much more engaging for him or her.

Which brings us to an important point—to be a great media relations pro, you need to read the reporter’s articles.

Yes, keeping up with what they write is a key part of your role.

If you’re not already following the reporters you want to reach out to on social media, do it now.

Occasionally like, comment, or share some of their articles.

If you do this before you pitch them, all the better.

Same Pitch, Multiple Contacts?

Can you send the same pitch to more than one reporter?

Sure, but you need to customize it for each reporter.

This is why sending the same canned pitch out to hundreds of reporters isn’t a good idea.

They can smell this type of tactic a mile away.

The chance of them reading a pitch like this is slim.

And really, it could be considered spamming them.

More importantly, it doesn’t work.

Wouldn’t you rather score a few strong articles in key publications than spam every reporter under the sun with your pitch, in the hopes that someone will write about it?

It’s a desperate way to go about your media outreach, and doing something out of desperation rarely leads to success.

If you can focus on the publications and journalists that are most important to your client, you’ll have a much better chance of securing coverage.

Then, if you want to reach the masses, you can always issue a news release after you’ve secured a story or two.

This strategy is so much more effective in the long run.

Excellent Media Relations Ideas

Here are a few ideas:

  • Do some research. Use Google to search on trends or topics of interest. See which reporters are currently covering these topics and build a list.
  • Use a media database. While they sometimes get a bad rep for not having the most up-to-date information (journalists move around more these days), they can still be useful to find contact information for reporters.
  • Consider social media. Search for the reporter on social media. See what they’re posting. Perhaps there’s a fit. Just don’t be creepy about it.
  • Thumb through some publications. If you have the time, visit a bookstore and actually look through the magazines that target your industry. While most of us do our research online, it never hurts to look through an actual publication for inspiration.

Employ this approach and not only will you score a better outcome for your client, you’ll stay on the journalist’s good side.

image credit: Shutterstock

michelle garrett

Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. Her articles are featured in Entrepreneur, Ragan’s PR Daily and Muck Rack, to name a few. Garrett was named a Top 100 PR Influencer by Onalytica. She works with clients worldwide ranging from small businesses and startups to enterprises, assisting them in crafting and carrying out a PR strategy to help them get the word out, get noticed and lead to an increase in visibility, prospects and sales.

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