Going into a media pitch with the goal of selling your story is a recipe for failure.
Going into a media pitch with a goal of helping a journalist is much more likely to result in the coverage you are hoping to achieve.
That’s because journalists are people. And people don’t like to be sold. They are also extremely busy. As publications and staffing levels shrink, already overburdened reporters and editors are asked to do more than ever before. So if you can help them put together a solid story about something relevant to their publication, they’ll be far more likely to work with you in the future.
A great pitch starts by knowing your audience, namely editors and reporters, and understanding their publications. What subject matter is relevant? What themes are important to their readers? How can you add context to your pitch by linking to current events or trends?
For example, let’s say you are pitching a story about a new program that accelerates the pilot training process. First, research who is writing about pilot training and target them. Then, plug into the industry reality of a pilot shortage, find out who has written about pilot shortage in the past, and target them, too. This will likely expand your targets beyond the aviation industry and move your pitching activity into top tier media.
Tip: People have always told stories — and that’s what good journalists want — stories that are told in human terms. When you pitch your story to a journalist the No. 1 thing to remember is this — make it about them and their readers, not about you.
I have developed a one-page pitch approach that has four key components. It works for me and I’m confident it will work for you, too.
1) Start by fleshing out the idea enough to establish credibility and add context. Explain how and why the story will be relevant to this particular publication’s readers.
“Because you’ve written about pilot training techniques in the past, and because you have a training spotlight scheduled later this year, I thought this story might be of interest to you and your Training Today readers.”
2) Fold in supporting facts and data to substantiate claims and show that your idea has substance. Get to the point quickly and avoid jargon and acronyms. No fluff.
“ABC Training has developed a new method of pilot training that allows students to start flying sooner and complete their training 25 percent faster than conventional courses. In addition, SafetyFirst has validated that ABC Training graduates demonstrate more safe flying behaviors and have better safety records than their peers with conventional training.”
3) Explain specifically what photo and video assets you will provide. Emphasize that the imagery is professional quality and high resolution. Also, tell them how you are going to help them in terms of interviews, demos, etc.
“I invite you to visit a classroom and speak with students and instructors. I can also provide a certified copy of the SafetyFirst report and high-resolution photos or B-roll footage on request.”
4) Close by saying thank you and describing next steps.
“Please contact me anytime if you’d like to learn more. You can reach me after hours on my mobile: 123.456.7890.”
If you’d like to learn more about the art of aviation, aerospace and defense PR, download BDN’s new e-book. All about the “Power of PR,” the e-book is full of exclusive new content you won’t find anywhere else, including actionable ideas and industry examples.
You may also like this blog, “A Practical Guide to ID-ing News Release Topics and Ideas.” Again, it’s full of ideas and industry-specific examples you can start using today.