Struggling to Get Press? My Tips for the Press-Pitching Process - Rolling Stone
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Struggling to Get Press? My Tips for the Press-Pitching Process

If it isn’t new, it isn’t news.

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Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

We’ve all been there — you pitch a journalist, you wait with bated breath and then nothing happens. You follow up, but still nothing. Then you move on to the next outlet because there’s no point waiting around any longer. But what if your story went viral or at least got picked up by another publication? I have good news: Your press pitching could be the problem, not the journalist.

As a media personality and media relations agent, I know firsthand that pitching to the press requires some forethought. Based on my experience in both traditional and digital outlets, such as TV networks, radio stations and streaming services, I’d like to share why your media pitching likely isn’t working and how to fix it so that you can start getting better results faster.

Deliver news.

If it isn’t new, it isn’t news. In order to pitch successfully, it’s important to understand that journalists need news. They’re busy people with plenty of their own stories to report on and gather information for, so if your pitch isn’t telling them something new, it’s likely to get a big fat “no thanks.”

Build credibility.

In order for a journalist to be supportive and care about what you’re doing, they need to know that your company is credible. The first step in building credibility is finding your unique value proposition (UVP). Why do your company’s values and identity set it apart from others like it? Journalists can and will research information about your type of company. But there has to be something unique to make it stand out.

Show impact.

Journalists and media outlets — like their readers — are looking for something they can use. You need to demonstrate that your story, company, product, service or book provides a solution (not just a good idea) that appeals to a large audience.

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Talk like a real human.

Many company leaders talk like a robot when they pitch to journalists, and it’s a big turnoff. Reporters need to be able to identify with an organization in order for them to write about it positively. Give yourself an advantage by writing like a human being.

You need to know what you’re talking about.

To be a success, you need to know what you’re talking about. Good pitching is about knowing your subject matter and being able to present it in a compelling way. We all like to think we’re experts on everything; but if you’re pitching regularly, chances are, at some point you will stumble across someone who is also an expert in that area. Be honest with yourself — do you know more than they do?

You need to keep it short.

Some people start their pitch with a long description of who they are and what they do. Editors and journalists don’t want to read about you — cut to the chase. A simple paragraph that describes your book or site, as well as its premise, is more than enough.

Stop pitching press releases.

Press releases are a relic of a bygone era. They were once necessary, but now they’re ignored more often than not. If you want press coverage and exposure, there’s only one surefire way to get it: Earn it. Stop pitching press releases. Instead, write interesting stories (in layman’s terms) that appeal to media outlets and their readership. In other words, give them compelling content they can’t ignore.

If you’re struggling to get press, I recommend you take a hard look at the way you pitch.

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