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3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch [plus email template]

Simone Cunningham 3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch [Plus email template]

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We’ve all been there. You think you got a good or at least decent story, but when you pitch it to the media, an online publication or podcast, you get Zip, Zero, Zilch, Nada.

Not even a return email saying “thanks, but no thanks”.

I know this can be disheartening, especially if you’re new to the PR game.

In this blog, I share with you the three main ingredients to getting your story pitch noticed by those who have the power to say “yes”!

I’m also going to give you my PR Story Pitch Email Template, so keep reading.

If you’re on the go and prefer to listen, click on the podcast episode.

 

Listen to the podcast

3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch

 

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If you’re continuing here in the blog, let’s get started.

 

What is a PR story pitch?

 

Firstly, I’m going to quickly recap what a PR (public relations) or media story pitch is. If you want more detail make sure you check out my other podcasts and blog on the topic.

Related podcast: Press Release or Media Release vs. Media Alert vs. Media Pitch: 3 Media Strategy Tools Explained

Related blog: Press Release vs. Media Release vs. Media Alert vs. Media Pitch

Essentially, a PR story pitch is a short personalised message that outlines the value of a story and explains why it should be published. It’s usually about 200 words long, or 2-3 paragraphs. 

Sounds simple right?

Well, it can be, but there’s also a lot of room to go wrong, which is why so few pitches make it past the inbox of editors, journalists, producers and hosts.

If I was to sum up how to craft a PR story pitch in one sentence, I would tell you to tailor it, like you would a cover letter for a job application. 

General PR pitches and blanket emails will almost always get deleted.

So, what then is the solution? Let’s get into the 3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch.

 

1. Know the story you want to tell

 

This is one of the most common mistakes that I see. 

You need to get crystal clear on what you want them to do a story on and why it’s interesting or of value to their audience. This is called the ‘story hook’. You need to be able to sum it up in two or three sentences. 

Think of it this way, if you don’t know the story you want to tell and can’t sell it to them, why should they care?  It’s harsh but true.

Editors, journalists, producers and hosts all have audiences to answer to, so make sure you’re selling the benefits of why your story matters to them and their audience. 

 

public relations

 

2. Know your target publication, journalist or host

 

Please don’t even think about pitching an idea to a publication or podcast host until you’ve done your research.

This is also one of the main reasons why your pitch gets rejected. In fact, it’s probably not even been seen by the right people in the first place.

Before you even start writing your pitch, you need to figure out the right publication, vlog or podcast for your story. This means research, and lots of it.

In your niche or area of expertise, you need to start Googling to find people who are speaking or writing about your topic, or publications and podcasts that create content for your target audience. Start with keywords for your topic.

Next, read through their articles, watch their videos or listen to their podcasts so you can answer 5 key questions.

  1.  Who is their audience? 
  2.  What kind of language do they use?
  3.  What content types are they publishing?
  4.  Has your topic already been covered? If yes, can you find a new angle? 
  5.  Who do you send your pitches to?

Use this information to work out which publications or podcasts to send your pitches to.

To help you write your pitch I have an email template you can download. I’ll give you the details soon.

Finally, make sure you follow the submission guidelines – they’re there for a reason.

If you don’t, you risk getting your pitch rejected before it’s even read.

My first podcast, 3 reasons why your media pitch gets ignored or deleted will really help you there, as I go into a lot of detail. 

 

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE

 

Related blog: 3 reasons why your media pitch gets ignored or deleted

 

3. Know how to write a media pitch

 

There’s a formula involved in writing a pitch. If you follow it you’re more likely to create a focused pitch that’s tailored to your target publication, vlog or podcast.

 

Pitch writing formula in 7 steps

  1.  Write a clear subject line with the word ‘pitch’ in the title. 
  2.  Introduce your story with an attention-grabbing opening sentence. Don’t ramble on for several paragraphs, get to the point of what your story is about.
  3.  Explain why they should feature you or publish your story. 
  4.  Write a bio paragraph with your qualifications.
  5.  Thank them for their time. It’s polite and builds rapport for next time, even if they reject your pitch.
  6.  After your sign-off include your contact information, social media accounts, and links for additional information, not attachments.
  7.  Always proofread before hitting send. You want to look as professional as possible. 

 

Bonus tips

 

Now I’ve got two quick bonus tips for you:

  1.  Track your pitches.
  2.  Follow up. 

I suggest you track your pitches in a spreadsheet so you know whom you’ve contacted, when, and whether they accepted or rejected your idea.

Also mark, when to follow them up if you haven’t heard back yet. 

Yes, I recommend following them up ONCE. Generally wait around two weeks, unless your piece is time-sensitive, or they’ve given you guidelines about when to follow up.

At the end of the day, it’s important to keep pitching, and putting yourself out there. 

I suggest you set a goal to pitch to a certain number of people each week.

Like most things in life, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Persistence will pay off in the long run.

To discuss my 1:2:1 training options, which includes finding your story and pitch writing, book your free 30-minute chat today.

content marketing training and courses_Simone Cunningham

In summary

 

  1.  Know the story you want to tell.
  2.  Know your target publication, journalist or host.
  3.  Know how to write a media pitch.

 

Download the PR Story Pitch Email Template

 

I hope you have a better understanding of what editors, journalists, producers and hosts are looking for in your story pitch. 

As promised, if you would like some extra help in crafting your PR story pitch, download my PR Story Pitch Email Template.

 

Infographic recap 

 

For a summary of today’s blog see the infographic below, 3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch.

Feel free to save it and use it with attribution.

I wish you great success this year in generating publicity for your business.

 

Infographic - 3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch

Source

 

Ready to get started on your pitch?

 

If you’re ready to share your knowledge and be interviewed on podcasts, or on YouTube, Facebook, and website vlogs but don’t have a pitch, this is where I can help. 

Over 30 minutes, we’ll come up with fresh ideas for your pitch so you can start getting featured. 

Without a well-developed, catchy pitch to email to people, it’s virtually impossible to be considered as a guest, anywhere. 

If you’re interested in chatting with me, visit my website contact page to book your Sellable Story Pitch Audit or click here.

 

Want more?

 

For more tips in public relations, video marketing, and content marketing listen to my new podcast series “Improve Your Content in 5 Minutes” by clicking here, or find me on your favourite streaming app.

To learn how to approach the media, listen to my podcast episode where I explain the differences between a “press release”, “media release”, “media alert” and “media pitch”. 

 

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE

 

You can also read it on the blog or watch the video below.

 

 

Simone Cunningham

Simone Cunningham

CEO Simone Cunningham Media & eWords Agency

Simone is a public relations and content marketing strategist. Partnering with businesses and individuals over the last 20 years to achieve their content and publicity goals.

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SIMONE CUNNINGHAM

SIMONE CUNNINGHAM

CEO Simone Cunningham Media & eWords Agency

Simone is a public relations and content marketing strategist. Partnering with businesses and individuals over the last 20 years to achieve their content and publicity goals.

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