Pitching To Journalists and Landing Placements

Your Pitch Is a Gift and Four Other Tips for Landing Placements

December 30, 2015by hiebing2021

We all know the feeling. You’ve called a handful of times. Ok, it was a dozen times. You’ve sent (probably too many) messages and stared plaintively at the phone for hours. You finally understand Blondie’s angst as you belt “Don’t leave me haaaaanging on the telephone” pitifully into your hairbrush before work one morning. You’re guessing I’m talking about a boy, right? No, I’m talking about that elusive reporter, the one who plays you hot and cold, asking for more info then dodging your calls for weeks as you slowly crumple into a teenager again and find yourself eating ice cream straight from the carton.

This kind of rejection is so much worse than some jerk who said he’d call but went to the mall with Lizzie instead. Luckily for you, I’ve been through it so you don’t have to. Here’s how to deal:

1. Pretend You’re Holiday Shopping: Sure you have 900 friends on Facebook. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to buy all of them a Christmas present, right? Just like your gift list, you need to cull your media contacts until you’re only left with the ones you truly care about. Think of your pitch as a gift. Each one should be individually wrapped with care and sent with a specific recipient in mind.

2. Drop the Act: Nobody likes the mean girl who manipulates her way to the top through false flattery (we’re talking to you, Regina George). Yes, your product will (hopefully) enhance a reporter’s column and be of interest to its readers, so definitely don’t be afraid to say that.But don’t pretend you’re running for prom queen with this pitch. Be honest and genuine. Be a real human being. Be yourself, and you’ll find that the middle ground is a beautiful place where you both recognize that a media placement is mutually beneficial.

3. Tell the Happily Ever After: Just like nobody cares about your friend’s brother’s ex-girlfriend’s new haircut, nobody cares about your product with the amazing thing that does this when you do that. What they do care about is the story. Did your founder befriend a bear who told him to develop this product while he was lost in the woods for three days? Great! Tell your friends. Tell the media. Tell everyone. As we Hiebs are prone to say, “You can’t force devotion. You earn it by telling a compelling story.”

4. Bust out the Binoculars: Take a trip to the office supply room and stock up, Harriet the Spy-style. You’ll want a crisp composition notebook and a good pencil to take some serious notes. Why’s that, you ask? It’s time to spy on your competitors. What stories are they landing? Where are they getting placed? Competitor research can lead to valuable discoveries, like the realization that you’re pitching to Kim, a male, not a female. You’ll never know until you look.

5. Make a Sandwich: You’re a PR professional. She’s a reporter. You have something that makes her life easier, her writing more exciting and her colleagues jealous you didn’t pitch to them instead. Likewise, she has a way of helping you meet your media relation goals, share your story in a unique way and reach just the right audience. Together, you offer equal parts of thick peanut butter and gooey jelly, joining forces to make the classic sandwich adored by all. So why make this a onetime thing? You guys go together like peanut butter and jelly. Stay in touch. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram. Send her emails with useful links that have nothing to do with your brand. One day, when you’re in a lunchtime bind, you’ll pull a jar of peanut butter off the shelf, grab the jelly from the fridge and remember how wonderful it is to have such a winning combination at hand.


What did you realize while staring at the bottom of an empty ice cream container? Share your pitching woes below!


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