Five Tips for Writing and Sending out a Pitch

One of the first questions I ask when I start working with a new client is which media outlets they want to be featured in. This allows us to set some goals to work towards and define the type of coverage the client is looking for. For example, perhaps they are looking to expand and want more coverage from a business article perspective to show potential investors or they do charity work and want to bring more exposure to their cause.

Securing media coverage is a honed skill and is why many restaurants choose to hire a PR company. They already have relationships that are developed with many writers, have a pulse on what publications and TV and radio outlets are looking for and have the tools to secure coverage. But if you have a small budget and the patience to do your own media outreach here are some tips that will increase the likeliness they will cover you.

1. Research Your Intended Target

It’s important to do your research on a publication before you pitch a certain story angle; otherwise you’ll come across unprepared and insincere. Some items to consider about the publication include:

How often do they go to print - If they are a quarterly publication they typically focus on the bigger picture versus a weekly publication that is usually focused on things that are happening in the near future.

What do they write about - If they have a specific voice and direction make sure you are only sending relevant information. A writer for a business publication is not going to have any interest in your new fall menu, but they will be interested in your expansion plans.

Recurring or annual stories - Does a reporter always cover specific human interest stories or does a magazine publish an annual ‘best of’ list? These are a great place to start because you know they’ve got the groundwork laid out and you’re helping them fill that space.

2. Pitch the Article Like You’re Writing the Article

When you write your pitch make sure you’re matching the style of the publication and supplying facts and ideas that are consistent with the theme of the publication. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for something specific. Rather than just sending information about your new chef along with a few photos, specifically point out where they might be a good fit. It’s important to remember that journalists receive a large amount of pitches, press releases and invitations to events. By being specific you are cutting out a few steps, which any busy journalist will be thankful for. But remember that there is a fine line between suggesting and demanding, so be careful in the way you ask.

3. Do You Have Everything?

Before you hit the send button go over your pitch one last time to look for any errors, but more importantly to make sure you’re supplying the writer with everything. Your job is to make their job easy. Do you have links to the company website you’re pitching, links or embedded photos that correlate what you’re pitching you can send low resolution, but make sure you have high resolution readily available, and contact information?

4. Don’t Fear Silence

Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back right away. As previously mentioned, journalists are busy people who receive hundreds of emails a day. They can’t possibly return each one and you can’t take it personally. But don’t assume they weren’t interested in your pitch and don’t be afraid to follow up. However, never email a writer and simply ask if they got your email. This is probably on the top of every writer’s list of pet peeves and the quickest way to get your email sent to trash. Instead offer up fresh information or offer to set up an interview with the person or company you are pitching. Being persistent is key, but don’t become obnoxious.

5. Don’t Leave Them Hanging

The writer responded to your email and they have several questions and requested photos. Congratulations! But, now what? First and foremost don’t leave them hanging while you gather this information. You may perceive getting this information in 48 hours or less as very timely, but to a writer who is on deadline this is two very long days without any communication. The best course of action is to respond and confirm you received their requests right away. Make sure you find out when they need these materials by and make sure you deliver on time or even early.