Four tips for back-to-school pitches

Savannah Burns
Four tips for back-to-school pitches

The weeks leading up to the start of a school year can be both exciting and hectic. Though, this year it may feel more like the latter. 

Whether it’s shopping for new books and clothes or moving into a dorm room, students and parents alike switch into buying and preparation mode for the back-to-school season. 

This time of year typically inspires a huge wave of media which can be a great opportunity for your company to gain the recognition it deserves. If you want to land media coverage for the start of the school year, then follow these tips to tailor your media pitch for back-to-school. 

Know your audience

When we think of back-to-school time, many of us think of cute kids in their first-day-of-school outfit with a brand new backpack and lunchbox. However, eight year olds are not the only ones who are involved in the back-to-school frenzy. Parents, college students, teachers, professors, and even janitorial staff have to establish new morning routines and stock up on supplies to prepare for the infamous time of year. 

Therefore, when pitching your idea to the media, it is important to know and understand the audience you are pitching to. For example, you wouldn’t pitch dorm room supplies to teachers or children. You would, however, pitch them to college students and parents of college students. Consider the role each audience plays in the back-to-school experience and target media outlets based on their relation to that specific audience. 

Choose media wisely

Similar to considering the audience you want to reach, it is crucial to pick the correct media contacts to pitch to. With something as time specific as a back-to-school media pitch, you may consider sending your pitch to journalists that have experience covering those topics already. Chances are, if the journalist has written about back-to-school in the past, they are probably the best fit for your story. With that in mind, it is also a good idea to keep your pitch as original as possible. If a journalist has recently covered the exact topic before, it is likely they will not want to cover it again, unless it’s an evergreen story like writing about the most unique after school programs for kids. 

Use a unique angle 

A unique angle or selling point is the most important part of your pitch–it’s what draws someone in and convinces them that the story needs to be told. 

When it comes to back-to-school pitches, there are timely topics that often work well like product roundups around fashion trends or technology, or expert tips about healthy lunches or establishing routine. But to stand out in an editor’s inbox and increase your chances of your story being told, it pays to think outside the box. 

For example, COVID-19 has brought with it new challenges, businesses practices, and routines for many, including schools. Though the virus may not be the most advantageous in all areas of life, it may help to spur creativity when brainstorming angles to sell a story. Regular school day procedures will not be similar to any other school year. This is a perfect time to include pandemic adjustments in your pitch so the audience can be as successful as possible during this unpredictable global situation. 

Timing is everything

When it comes to timing your pitches, July through September is ideal for pitching a back-to-school article. However, when you pitch in those few months is crucial. Too late and you’re old news, too early you and risk people disregarding your message because they are not in the school mindset yet. 

A few weeks or less before the start of school is a good time to share your article so it will be relevant and timely. Keep in mind that the article may not be released the same day you pitch it so account for process time. In addition, it could be useful to include important dates such as when the first day of school is or when a sale starts, especially if the pitch is hyper local.

About Savannah Burns: Savannah is a marketing and communications intern for Swyft, which has been listed as one of the best PR firms in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft recently opened a satellite office where it offers PR in San Francisco.

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