How to pitch to B2B Journalists
Pitching to journalists is the cornerstone of PR – you need to get your client’s story out there, and it’s the fastest, cheapest and most effective way to do so. But, despite it being one of the most vital elements of a PRO’s role, it’s also one of the hardest things to get right. Journalists are often under a lot of pressure, with little time for a pitch that’s not right for them, so you have one chance to sell your story. To ensure you stay on the right side of your media contacts – your most valuable allies – here are some tips on making a quality pitch:
Limit the use of jargon
This is one of the pet peeves of most journalists – particularly tech journalists, who have enough difficult terminology to cope with anyway. Think KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. If you can’t sell your product clearly and simply, journalists will think (perhaps correctly) that you’re hiding behind the words. Also, they don’t necessarily have the same knowledge that you do of the product – and this might be true also of the audience they’re writing for.
Think about your subject lines
I was once told a horror story about a journalist receiving an email titled ‘Press release’, only to open the email to find the sentence ‘Press release attached’ and an attachment titled ‘Press release’. Think of the subject lines as your headlines and that will help do sell the story to the journalist and grab their attention. Journalists often receive hundreds of emails a day, so making yours stand out is crucial – don’t wait for them to get to the body of the email itself.
Don’t send irrelevant pitches
Something journalists hate, and the main practice that gives PR a bad name is sending out irrelevant pitches which are of no use to the journalist they’ve been sent to. It suggests laziness – that you haven’t researched the journalist and their specialities enough, and wastes both their time and yours (and your client’s). Another bad move is blanket pitches, which are generic pitches fired out to a large number of journalists, whether or not they’re likely to be interested in your story. It’s extremely unlikely to be effective, and is more likely to get your email address assigned immediately to the spam bin.
Don’t send attachments
If you have a press release, it should be copy and pasted into the body of the email rather than attached. Sending attachments risks having your email sent immediately to the junk mail folder, or attracting the wrath of the journalist for clogging up their inbox space.
Why is your story significant?
Just because your client has released a new product, it doesn’t mean that the journalist is at all interested. What is the angle behind it? Why is it significant? Tech stories can be dry to the general public, so getting an interesting spin on yours is very important. Does it relate to a recent development? How can it be linked to current news? One recent example from TopLine was linking a comment made by the Duke of Edinburgh about the amount of Filipina nurses in the NHS. This was linked to the economic trend of female immigrants contributing significantly to the economy of the Philippines through remittances.
Get to the point quickly, and ensure that there is no superfluous information to irritate the journalist. Be quick and professional, whether you’re emailing or calling, and give the most important points first. Those are the ones you want the journalists to know, and the ones that will hook their interest.