Making Your Best Pitch — Tips for Finding the Right Reporter
Contacting reporters to pitch them your story can be intimidating. How can you be sure your email will not be met with silence?
Here are a few tips to decrease the likelihood that your pitch is not met with a quick click of the delete button.
First, do your homework. Once you’ve determined which outlet you’d like to pitch, read through its recent coverage of your topic. Is there a particular reporter who has written a lot about the issues you care about? If so, that journalist is likely the best target for your pitch.
Be exacting. If you have some interesting research on health insurance to share, make sure the reporter you’re considering focuses on insurance. At outlets with smaller staffs, that reporter’s recent archive may include all manner of healthcare stories. At bigger publications, a journalist who appears to cover “health care” may have a more specific beat, like prescription drugs or the hospital business. Your insurance pitch is likely to fall on deaf ears if sent to the reporter who covers drug research.
Position your pitch in the context of the reporter’s recent work. If his or her last three stories focus on rising health insurance premiums, then explain why your research matters to someone with a clear interest in rising premiums.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral. If a reporter turns your pitch down, ask if there’s someone for whom it might be a better fit.