Recently, I was talking with an editor buddy of mine about some of the bad pitches he receives (some of them were definitely worthy of The Bad Pitch Blog). While the stories were amusing and kept me laughing, I couldn’t help but hope that he didn’t lump my pitches in with those. And that got me thinking: “what exactly are my guidelines for writing a pitch?”
The following are a few things I keep in mind:
- Keep it Short and Sweet. The longer the pitch, the more likely you are to lose the reporter/blogger/editor you are pitching.
- Keep it Relevant. Twenty reporters may cover the same beat, but they don’t all have the same interest. It doesn’t take more than a minute or two to personalize each pitch.
- Why is it Important? Can you sum up in one line why the subject of your pitch is reportable? If you can’t how can you expect the reporter you’re pitching to be able to do so?
- Don’t Bury Your Lead. I used to drive my old mentor, an old FNN/CNN/CNBC vet, crazy doing this. If you’re not getting your core message out until the second or third paragraph, you’ve likely lost your window. Make sure your lead is up front.
- Can the reporter pitch it? You don’t always have the ear of the final decision maker. Think about not only why the reporter you are pitching should pay attention, but how that person can pitch your topic to their editor.
- Keep it honest. As my friend put it, “Every pitch is from the ‘world’s best/premier/leading something!’ I guarantee you, the day I get an email from ‘the second best’ anything, I’m going to cover it!”
What do you keep in mind?