The inside scoop about pitching stories

The inside scoop about pitching stories

Some of the questions we receive from our clients — and potential clients — underscore their curiosity about how we go about presenting ideas, known as pitching stories in the PR trade, to news media.

Some of the questions we field include:

  • How do you know which media to pitch?
  • How do you know which media are most receptive to news about what we do?
  • Is there some kind of standardized process you employ to pitch media?
  • What is the best way to pitch media?
  • Is pitching an effective means for placing stories?

These are all good questions. So, we’re going to give you a peek under the curtain to illustrate how we pitch and what we do to maximize our pitching success rate.

All pitches are different.

No two pitches are alike That’s because all stories are unique.

To illustrate…

The opening of a new restaurant will have interest to local consumer media where the restaurant is opening and trade media that regularly cover the food and beverage industry.

So, pitching the news about the new restaurant will be directed to local print media, online news sources, broadcast news sources (including podcasts), as well as any national or regional trade media who seek information on the food and beverage industry.

More specifically, the story will be directed to individuals who cover dining and lifestyle topics. The same story, with a slightly different slant, will be directed toward sources that cover consumer business news and food and beverage trade news.

When it gets down to differentiating the new opening, it is our job to dig out what makes the story newsworthy and craft a story that makes the news relevant to the media that matter most to the client’s business. Maybe it’s a menu item that is totally unique or reflective of a popular dining trend. Or maybe it’s the reputation and renowned ability of the restaurant’s chef or the debut of the restaurant in an entirely new area.

What are some of the keys to making pitches work?

Thanks to research compiled by organizations like Meltwater, Cision, and ContentGrip, all of whom offer comprehensive media monitoring, as well as our own experience, we have a keen knowledge of the key components to make pitching stories work.

For example:

  • About one in five journalists prefer to receive pitches on Monday, but more than half of journalists don’t care what day they are pitched stories. Most journalists say they prefer to be pitched before noon.
  • More than half of journalists get at least a quarter of the stories they publish from pitches.
  • Approximately 67% prefer to get pitches that are less than 200 words long. Well over half (61%) say that two to three paragraphs are the sweet spot.
  • 49% of journalists say they seldom or never respond to pitches. 24% said they respond about half the time, 18% usually do and 8% always do (thank goodness for the eight percent!).
  • The leading reason for immediately rejecting otherwise relevant pitches is a lack of personalization.
  • Overwhelmingly (90%) prefer personalized, one-to-one pitching.

We create “pitches” that hit the strike zone.

It is clear from research, and our own experience, that pitches must be tailored to the individual receiving them.

No respectable journalist is interested in a pitch that is from a PR firm casting as wide a net as possible. Individual journalists want to be treated as individuals and are considerably more likely to pay attention to those PR professionals that recognize and respect their work and individual style.

With that in mind, our pitches at Wellons Communications are really a series of individualized pitches tailored to each individual journalist. This requires upwards of thirty to forty individualized emails, letters or phone calls aimed directly to each individual journalist’s wants and needs.

Take advantage of our pitching abilities

Our team has experience from both sides of the communications spectrum. We have served as journalists and we have served as publicity specialists, experience that has enabled us to know what kind of information media seeks, how and when they need it, and how to get the information to them.

When it comes time for your story to be told, call on us at Wellons Communication to start pitching stories … preceded, of course, by a well-designed plan that includes all the elements to enable your story to be presented in the most robust fashion possible.