PR tactics: When to use a media pitch

- December 11, 2023 2 MIN READ


Mastering the art of choosing whether a media pitch or a media release is the right tactic is vital, particularly for startups and small businesses striving to achieve coverage, writes Anthony Caruana and Kathryn Goater, Co-CEO’s, of Media-Wize

Media pitches are useful for suggesting a story or feature idea, providing expert commentary on topical and breaking news (issues jacking), seeking initial interest from journalists, and potentially collaborating with them to develop a story further. Pitches can be a starting point for a deeper conversation and if successful will often lead to an interview with your spokesperson. Media pitches can also be used to provide trends and predictions information or alert a journalist that a spokesperson may be at an event and speaking on a topic that might also resonate with their readers.

Unlike a media release that is dispatched in a formal way to many journalists and media outlets, a media pitch leverages a personalised approach to a specific journalist to offer them something topical and newsworthy personally curated to their interests and that of their readers.

Things to consider when pitching to media

Before you develop a media pitch, it is important to research what the journalist and the publication cover. The best way to do this is to read their articles to get a sense of the topics that resonate with them and how they like to convey the news. Your pitch should be more conversational, friendly and demonstrate an awareness of their specific beat and subject matter interest.

Media releases are best for official announcements such as the launch of a new product or service, company expansion into new geographic regions, senior hires, or the results of surveys. If your goal is to reach a broad audience or a wide range of journalists and it is newsworthy, then a media release is the preferred choice. Media releases are also effective for improving online visibility and SEO. They often include keyword-rich content that can be picked up by search engines, increasing your online presence.

When preparing a media pitch, brevity and impact are your allies. Unlike a media release, a media pitch needs to be kept to approximately 5-6 paragraphs, roughly 200 words. Journalists are busy and their inboxes are flooded daily with an average of 100-300 emails or more and at best can only write 1-3 stories, so to avoid the delete key keep it concise. Ensure that every word serves a purpose and conveys the essential elements of your story.

A well-structured pitch must encapsulate the newsworthiness, establish your expertise, and offer clarity on who is available for interview. Additional documents, like backgrounders and spokesperson bios and images, can be attached for further reference.

A winning pitch begins with a subject line that’s easily digestible, giving the journalist a quick glimpse of what’s in store and encourages them to open your email.  The opening paragraph must include a strong hook that captures the journalist’s interest. Explain why your story is newsworthy and relevant to their readership. Including impactful written quotes from your spokesperson can be a time-saver for busy journalists if they want to include in any stories they’re working on. The closing paragraph is your call to action, signalling your spokesperson’s availability for further discussions.

Knowing whether to issue a media pitch or a media release in the PR world is about choosing the right tool for the job. When you make the right choice your chances of coverage will increase.

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