The Dos and Don’ts of Pitching Journalists To Get Extra From Your Owned Media


Wouldn’t it’s nice if the content material your model invests a lot time and sources in may earn consideration from the media?

Extra folks would see your content material, and your model would get a credibility increase from a third-party supply. That’s the magic of mixing content material and PR. Whether or not you put on the general public relations hat or work with the PR staff, you possibly can create alchemy on your content material and model.

To do this, comply with these dos and don’ts of media outreach (tailored and up to date from my discuss at Content material Advertising and marketing World 2023).

Do perceive what content material works finest for earned media

Not all content material you create will work nicely for the media. Among the many content material that gained’t work:

  • Gross sales-focused: Journalists and editorially targeted media don’t wish to turn out to be shills on your model and merchandise. Save gross sales content material for different channels.
  • Undifferentiated: Media retailers additionally don’t wish to publish the identical content material as everyone else.
  • Weak: When you don’t deliver your content material to life with knowledge, statistics, or buyer tales, don’t waste time pitching it to media retailers.
  • AI-generated: If the editors wished bot-created content material, they may do it themselves.

What content material works nicely? I discover these classes play nicely with third-party publications:

  • Thought management: Govt interviews supply nice materials. Each few months, I interview my consumer’s CEO and create a thought management piece for the corporate weblog. I pitched a type of articles to the publication Meals Trade Govt, and so they printed it. In reality, the article on business traits turned the outlet’s most-read story that month, garnering one more piece of protection. Then, an editor at Cheese Market Information learn it and requested to run it, too. We revised it for that publication and obtained extra protection primarily based on one thing that in any other case would have gathered mud on the corporate weblog.
Articles that ran in Food Industry Executive and Cheese Market News started as a thought leadership piece published on a company website (owned media) before being picked up by trade magazines (earned media).
  • Buyer tales: Use your clients (after getting the mandatory permissions from their group.) Work together with your gross sales staff to establish prospects, then negotiate with the shopper. Remind them that the publicity helps them, too, and look into what you can supply to encourage or thank them (a reduction, for instance).
  • Authentic knowledge and analysis: Reporters and editors love unique knowledge. In Cision’s 2024 State of the Media report (registration required), 61% of journalists say they wish to obtain unique analysis (traits, market knowledge, and so forth.) from media relations professionals. That’s second solely to press releases. I’ve had nice success with unique knowledge.

For instance, a consumer examined how lengthy a tough drive lasts and printed the outcomes on the corporate web site. We pitched it to tech publications, and 12 retailers, together with Community World, Ars Technica, and Tom’s {Hardware}, picked it up.

Screenshots of articles in Network World, Ars Technica, and other publications showing an owned media piece (original research into how long hard drives last) successfully used in earned media campaigns.
  • Pattern items: When you don’t have your individual knowledge, you should use publicly out there knowledge. I’ve seen firms efficiently construct a trend-story pitch round public knowledge associated to what the model does and what the media outlet is excited about.

Do concentrate on the publications your viewers reads

As an alternative of pitching 100 journalists or publications, do some analysis to find out the place your viewers spends time. Your listing gained’t be tons of; it’ll in all probability be extra like 10 or 20.

The C-suite typically thinks everybody reads The Wall Avenue Journal. They consider a point out there’ll change every part for the corporate. Nonetheless, commerce publications could also be much more related to your viewers, and people publications usually tend to publish your content material as their staffs shrink. When you ship them a well-written (i.e., not salesy) success story together with high-resolution photographs (and a video when you have it), they’ll in all probability be completely satisfied to contemplate publishing it.

Don’t embody overused phrases, jargon, or acronyms

Persevering with the non-salesy content material technique, keep away from these phrases:

  • Pressing
  • Trade-leading
  • Breaking information
  • Groundbreaking
  • Progressive

Be careful for jargon and acronyms, too. Since you’re immersed in a subject each day, chances are you’ll suppose everyone is aware of what you’re speaking about. Lots of people gained’t. As a rule of thumb, spell out acronyms on the primary reference.

Don’t ignore publication pointers

Most media web sites publish pointers for contributed content material. Some don’t settle for it, and a few have strict pointers. Craft pitches that present you’ve reviewed them. That can assist you stand out as a result of many individuals don’t hassle to learn them.

Typically, the publication will wish to interview the folks quoted within the content material themselves. If that will be uncomfortable for purchasers or the gross sales groups or executives would possibly hesitate to provide reporters entry to them, choose a unique media outlet.

Do think about the publication’s viewers

For instance,  a journalist informed me she typically receives pitches from firms primarily based in cities like Denver. However she writes for a enterprise journal in Columbus, Ohio. It looks like frequent sense, however you’d be shocked how many individuals don’t suppose earlier than they pitch.

A journalist informed me that she typically receives pitches for tales firms in Denver. However she writes for a enterprise journal in Columbus, Ohio. It looks like frequent sense, however you’d be shocked how many individuals don’t suppose earlier than they pitch. In a current Muck Rack research (registration required), almost three-quarters of the surveyed journalists say the highest motive for rejecting a pitch is irrelevance to their protection space. Different contenders embody lack of personalization (6%), dangerous timing (5%), too lengthy (2%), complicated topic line (1%), and different (7%).

Muck Rack found that nearly three-quarters of the surveyed journalists say the top reason for rejecting a pitch is irrelevance to their coverage area. Other contenders include lack of personalization (6%), bad timing (5%), too long (2%), confusing subject line (1%), and other (7%).

You’d suppose that is frequent sense. The bar is low.

Don’t overlook relationship-building

Make your media outreach work greater than a one-off transaction. When you construct good relationships with reporters and editors, they could come to you once they’re writing about your business. Deal with them nicely, prioritize their wants, and respect their time.

Right here’s a relationship tip. In case your model is exhibiting at a commerce present or sponsoring an occasion, you possibly can typically get the pre-registered media listing prematurely. A couple of weeks earlier than the occasion, ship reporters you’re excited about assembly a quick electronic mail to schedule an interview together with your spokesperson. In the event that they don’t wish to schedule a time to satisfy, you possibly can all the time invite them to cease by your sales space at their comfort. These conferences assist develop a relationship with a reporter in order that they’re extra more likely to keep in mind the CEO or government once they want a supply. Typically, they’ll write tales proper after the present, and so they would possibly name on them for quotes.

Keep in mind, journalists don’t owe you something. They will transfer on to the following supply if you happen to don’t meet their deadlines or ignore their questions. Be sure you listing a media contact in your website that checks incoming messages. You don’t wish to miss reporter queries. For instance, I do know of an organization that missed a chance with Wired journal as a result of nobody checked the e-mail the place the reporter despatched the inquiry.

Social media helps lots in connecting with reporters. Journalists replace their digital profiles extra typically than a media database firm does. In addition they put up what they’re engaged on and what sources they’re searching for.

Journalists nonetheless use X greater than different platforms, in response to the Muck Rack analysis, however I’ve seen increasingly utilizing LinkedIn currently.

Thirty-six % of journalists say they use X, 22% are on Fb, 17% on LinkedIn, and 12% on Instagram. Few are on YouTube (4%), Reddit (2%), and TikTok (1%). Solely 2% say they’re not on social media.

Muck Rack research found that more journalists (36%) name X/Twitter as their most valuable social media channel, followed by Facebook (22%), LinkedIn (17%), Instagram (12%), YouTube (4%), and other (4%).

Do attempt the following tips

Contemplate these nuts-and-bolts pitching suggestions:

  • Pitch within the morning when most reporters choose to obtain story concepts.
  • Keep away from Mondays when everyone’s inbox is full.
  • Keep away from Fridays earlier than and Tuesdays after a three-day weekend.
  • Use electronic mail, as that’s what most reporters choose.
  • Ship one follow-up electronic mail a couple of week after the unique pitch.

Don’t neglect to take advantage of the media you earn

In case your content material will get picked up or talked about in a publication, share it on social media. Put it in your publication and put up it in your website. Share it together with your prospects, buyers, companions, and inner groups.

You need everybody to know the way you turned your owned media (content material) into earned media via a PR method. You didn’t should create something new — you used content material that had already been created. And that’s a win for everybody when content material and PR groups work collectively.

Carry your staff to Content material Advertising and marketing World this October for inspiration, concepts, and actionable recommendation on creating and executing a technique that drives revenue for your corporation. Group charges can be found. Register at present


Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute