Something that’s easy to overlook when pitching a story to a reporter is that in most cases the reporter has to turn around and pitch it to an editor. So, getting the reporter interested is only half the battle. The more you can arm him or her with good information about why your idea would make a good story, the more favorable the odds of selling the editor.
The best way to sell a story is to first do your homework and then tailor your pitch as much as possible.
When I was on the editorial side of a heath care magazine, I never ceased to be amazed at some of the obviously inappropriate pitches PR people sent my way. It was pretty easy to tell who had taken time to read our magazine and understand the types of stories we covered, and who had taken a shotgun approach to pitching.
When the time comes to make your pitch, be sure you not only think like a reporter, but that you write like one as well. In other words, don’t advertise or editorialize your story idea; write your pitch as objectively as possible emphasizing its news aspect.
To increase your chances of success, follow this rule of thumb: find the right reporter and make the right story pitch at the right time.
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to advertising agencies and businesses.