Pitching stories to reporters comes down to one very basic rule: know your audience. Before you hit send, pick up the phone or fire off that DM, take the time to make sure the person on the other end is going to even have an interest in what you are trying to pitch. Have they covered similar stories in the past? Or are you pitching a feel-good feature story to a crime reporter?
It’s also a good idea to put yourself in the reporter’s shoes before contacting them. Ask yourself these simple questions:
- What else is happening that may take priority over my story?
- Is there a local angle to tie into?
- Does my pitch state the news value up front or am I burying the lead (AKA wasting time)?
- Am I pitching at a good time (e.g., not a time when reporters are on deadline)?
- Is what I am pitching actually news?
By taking a little extra time on the front end, you may find yourself modifying your approach in a way that makes your pitch more relevant and successful. This post by PRNewser has some humorous examples of what not to do and provides a candid view of how bad pitches are received by reporters.