The art of the personalized pitch
Reporters receive hundreds of pitches every single week, so it can feel near-impossible to capture their attention. One of the best ways to separate yourself from the pack is by crafting a personalized and thoughtful pitch. Here are a few best practices:
1. Review Recent Articles
First and foremost, review every reporter’s recent stories. Are they focused on breaking news coverage? Or are they writing more niche, longer-form stories? That information can tell you a lot about what types of sources they need or which story ideas they’re open to.
2. Check Out Older Stories
Don’t give up if a reporter isn’t covering your exact topic. Dig deeper into their archive to see if they’ve written on it before. Then, in your pitch, you can specifically refer to that previous coverage — proving that you’ve done your research. You never know — that reporter might be looking to pick that story back up, and your email could be coming at the perfect time.
3. Social Media
Social media profiles offer a wealth of information. Reporters frequently update their Twitter profiles to reflect their current beat. They’ll even include their email, request tips, or ask to be added to different press lists. Plus, the stories they post about often reveal their interests.
4. Make Their Job Easy
Make sure your pitch is clear and equips the reporter with all the information they’d need to pursue the story. You may want to list the types of sources you can offer, highlight the latest news on a certain policy issue, or clearly outline how the idea you’re pitching could materialize into a story. The more assistance you can provide, the more likely they’ll want to work with you.
5. Short and Sweet
It’s a fact — no one likes reading long emails. Imagine that the reporter you’re messaging opens your pitch on their phone. Will it pique their interest, even with a quick skim? Or will the length immediately cause them to delete it? Either way, always think through ways to trim down your word count so the pitch is as concise as possible.