In this blog post I’m going to give you my best tried and tested tips for pitching the media so that you can get featured in glossy magazines, top newspapers, the hottest blogs, and more.
As a PR coach, the clients I work with have been featured in the likes of Huffington Post, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, The Telegraph, Top Sante, Yahoo News and more.
And the result of that? They’re sharing their message, gaining more followers, making more sales and raising their prices. In fact, some of my clients have doubled their income after featuring in the press!
Appearing in well known newspapers, magazines and blogs can seriously transform your business. I’ve seen it happen to countless clients of mine, and I’ve done it myself.
- Take my client Dawn, a cognitive hypnotherapist, she was featured in a regional paper in her local area, and as a result she picked up ten new clients! She then wrote a guest post for a large blogging platform, and gained an additional ten clients.
- Or Abi, who quadrupled the number of visitors to her site, and doubled her Twitter following, after featuring on some blogs
- Or Anna, whose sales went up by 200% after her business was featured in The Guardian and the Daily Mail
- Or Claire who signed up several new high-end VIP clients after being featured in the likes of Marie Claire and The Guardian
- Or Kate who finally put her prices up after appearing in a range of trade publications.
- Or Michelle whose story went viral, gaining her 1000 new Instagram followers in one day and tripling her mailing list!
Personally, I recently landed a lucrative 12-month contract with a new client on the back of a guest blog post. That’s right, there was no ad spend and all I had to do was take the time to pitch the guest post and write it up – a pretty good return on investment I think you’ll agree!
The other brilliant consequence of getting featured in the press, is that one opportunity will often lead to even more fantastic opportunities. One client of mine bagged her own radio show, another was offered her own column for an online magazine, another was accepted for a TEDx talk – the possibilities are endless…
Ok, so hopefully you’ve seen the massive benefits that appearing in the media can bring, but how do you actually get featured in the press in the first place?
Here are my tried and tested tips for pitching the media.
First off, what’s a pitch? A pitch is typically an email that you send to a journalist or editor to propose a news or feature idea. You use the pitch to introduce yourself and outline your idea for a story or article.
How To Pitch The Media & Get Featured In Well-Known Publications
- Give them what they want
Pitch something you know the journalist or editor is likely to want, by suggesting something that’s a good fit with what they’re already publishing. If they regularly run ‘how to’ features, suggest a ‘how to’ feature on your specialist subject. If they regularly run emotional, first person pieces with people talking about their experiences, suggest something along those lines. If they often run a q&a interview with different business owners, pitch yourself for that specific column
2. Look for the story
Journalists and editors don’t generally want to know about your business for the sake of it. They want to know about the story behind the business. They want to know about your big why. So give them a reason to want to speak to you. What’s your story? Why did you start your business? Why do you do what you do? What inspires you? Use your personal story in your pitch, even if it’s just a really brief outline of it.
3. Be timely and relevant
Give the journalist a reason to want to write about you and your business right now. Suggest something timely – e.g. can you tie in your story to a seasonal event (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc) or annual awareness day (World Mental Health Day, International Women’s Day, Earth Day)? And make it relevant – perhaps you could tie your pitch in to something that’s recently been in the news, or some kind of current trend? Tools like Google Trend will help you to see what’s trending and give you ideas for the basis of your pitch, while timeanddate.com shows you holidays and observances from around the world.
4. Write a compelling headline
Ideally you need to win the journalist or editor over with your headline so that they feel compelled to open your pitch and read it, rather than skipping over it. Keep your headline short and succinct (around 8 – 12 words is ideal) and write something that tells the journalist or editor exactly what the pitch is about. Find out more about how to write seductive headlines here.
If you’d like to learn how to write the perfect pitch, download your free pitch template and checklist here:
5. Keep it short and sweet
When you’re writing your email pitch, you want to keep it brief and to-the-point. If you can keep it under 200 words you’re on to a winner. Tell the journalist all the important info, but whatever you do, don’t ramble on. Include bullet points so you can easily set out the main points of your story or feature idea.
6. Be helpful
Make things easy for the journalist. Give them links to any useful websites, let them know you have images if they need them. Do as much of the hard work for them as possible.
7. Ask if they’re interested
At the end of the pitch, ask directly if they would like to feature you/hear from you.
8. Create individual pitches tailored to the publication
Pitching the media is definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ exercise. You need to approach each publication individually, with a pitch that is tailored to them. Ideally the first line of your pitch will be something that relates specifically to that media outlet – e.g. you might tell them that you’re a big fan of their publication and mention a particular article that you really enjoyed.
9. Be media ready
Before you hit send, you want to make sure you’re ‘media ready’. This means checking that your website is up-to-date and that all your social media profiles have had their bios updated. Have any facts, figures or information that the journalist may need to hand, be ready and willing to answer any further questions from them, and have a high-res image of yourself on hand to send to them if asked.
Start pitching the media today with your free pitch template and accompanying checklist:
10. Get personal
Always try to get the name of an individual journalist or editor to pitch to. Never send a pitch to ‘Dear Editor’ or ‘Dear Blogger’. Do your research and find out who to pitch. Hint: this information is generally available on the publication’s website on their ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact Us’ pages, or if it’s a print publication you’ll find a masthead within the publication itself listing the different journalists and editors. Try emailhunter.co to find out a journalist’s email address.
11. Ready, set, send
If you’re pitching a blog or online publication, you can check their ‘contributor guidelines’ or ‘submission guidelines’ to find out how to pitch to them. Generally, you want to send your pitch via email, by copying it into the body of your email. Don’t send it as an attachment as many journalists will simply delete emails with attachments from people they don’t know. For the subject line, you want to write something like ‘Article idea’ or ‘Story idea’ and then include your compelling headline.
12. Connect on social media
Twitter gives you unprecedented access to journalists, editors and bloggers. Connect with journalists from your wish-list publications on Twitter – you can create a Twitter list so that you can easily track who you’ve connected with and see what they’re doing each day. Start engaging with them by retweeting them and responding to any relevant tweets, to get on their radar. Never pitch them via Twitter, but it’s perfectly acceptable to Tweet them to let them know that you’ve emailed them a pitch.
It’s always worth following up on a pitch if you don’t hear back. Journalists and editors are busy people. They’re generally inundated with emails, so it’s only natural that sometimes emails will fall through the cracks. If you haven’t heard back from them after three or so days, send a follow-up email (try followupthen.com to schedule your follow-up emails).
Take the opportunity to check they received your original email, offer them an extra tidbit, e.g. an extra element of your story that you didn’t mention before, or some new facts or figures that back up your story idea, and ask them if they’re interested in what you proposed. I would say it’s a good idea to follow-up three times max, after which you will need to accept defeat graciously, but trust me, following up will often bring you great results, so definitely do it.
Ready to get started? Click below to get your free pitch template and a handy pitch checklist that you can keep and use again and again…