The Secret to Effective Media Pitches

Weslie Oeftering
The Secret to Effective Media Pitches

In the beginnings of PR, pitching to the media was all about getting the journalist you wanted to speak to on the phone. In the 1940s, landlines were our best form of long-distance communication because they were our only form of communication (unless you count the telegraph, which was definitely on its way out at this point).

Then, in the 1980s, it became all about the fax machine, which much like the telegraph, was soon relegated to the status of Technological Dinosaur with the advent of Hotmail and other webmail services in the mid-1990s.

While it seems that email is here to stay in some form or another for the foreseeable future (although Slack and similar platforms have recently come onto the scene as potential challengers), social media is quickly establishing itself as the go-to medium for pitching media to journalists.

Pitching Via Social Media

Getting and holding the attention of a journalist effectively enough to build a relationship with them increasingly means DMing them on Twitter or Facebook since that’s where they are now getting most of their stories from. Social media is where all news breaks first, so it makes perfect sense that media outlets would shift their attention there. The closer they are to the action, the more likely it is that they will be the first ones to get a scoop – it’s just the smart thing to do.

This change in the way media outlets source their stories matters for PR pros because it means that in order to effectively pitch media, you need to be able to effectively use your contact’s platform of choice. If you try to reach a journalist via email when they primarily source their stories on social media, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Your pitch is more likely to be successful if you play by the journalist’s rules.

However, just because journalists are switching to social media platforms for sourcing their stories does not mean that your entire communications strategy should focus exclusively on social media platforms. Although pitching to the media is a big part of PR, there is so much more to PR and marketing that is not online. This is just a new dimension of PR that the industry needs to integrate into it’s day-to-day; it is not a total shift in what PR itself is.

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