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PR Pitching Tips Straight from the Source

November 30, 2010

We were lucky enough to get some pitching tips from the editors of the oldest newspaper in Florida, the Florida Times-Union. Read over these tips for successful pitching…and don’t forget to pass them along to your fellow public relations enthusiasts!

  • Build trust. #1 – Don’t lie!
  • What is the value of my pitch to the readers? Show that to the reporter.
  • What not to say: “follow-up,” “On behalf of…”
  • Do not send them something on Friday afternoon. They are preparing the paper for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and sometimes Monday.
  • The BEST time to send a release and reach out is Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.
  • One phone call is okay. Follow up e-mails are better. Your original pitch should be effective enough that a follow-up phone call is not necessary.
  • No need for literary style in a press release. Give details and contact info. Keep it clean and to the point. Use bullets!
  • Do not send out a release to everyone in the news room – they will not read it.
  • Go to the website and figure out who to talk to.
  • Be aware of who you are sending it to. Do your homework.
    Ex. “I notice you wrote about…”
  • Relate your client’s need to the need of the paper’s target audience.
  • Personalize the e-mail. Include background information on the reporter.
  • Reporters do not prefer attachments. Write it in the body of the e-mail. Limit photos…attachments are too large.
  • Sometimes appropriate to arrange meetings with editors, etc.
  • Get to know the beat reporter who writes about the industry of your client. Ex. If your client is a hospital, reach out to the local health reporter.
  • Make sure all your contact information is available to the reporter. Respond to them quickly if they need further information.
  • Understand that the reporter can’t always give you a straight answer. They may not know for a while if they can write about it.
  • If you want them to write about an event that is visually stimulating, they may just send a photographer if they can’t send a reporter.
  • Many newspapers have a “Good News” feature on Saturdays or something similar.
  • Be familiar with the outlet you are pitching to.
  • Physically look at the website and newspaper to see where your story could strategically be placed. Ask the reporter and mention different areas/sections where it may fit.
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