Rebecca is our fabulous content editor here at Class:PR and she’d always struggled with pitching stories to the media. So we got her to take the FAMOUS course and made sure she paid special attention to the StoryPitcher module. Here’s her takeaway:
Before I did the FAMOUS course I had no idea how to pitch my story to the media. Where do you start? What do you say? Will the journalist care about my story or am I just interrupting their busy working day? Nightmare. I was filled with nerves…but after doing the StoryPitcher module, I’m ready. Because A) I know what a real newsworthy story is and B) I know how to pitch it.
Here are the top 5 things that I’ve learnt about how to pitch my story to the media:
1.Take out the nerves with preparation
It’s okay to be nervous, but to prepare is the best remedy for that. As a founder, YOU are the business, you’re emotionally, physically, financially invested in it. You wear your heart on your sleeve. So obviously you’re going to be nervous when pitching your story, you have so much at stake. The best way to tackle the nerves is to remove your emotions and just stick to the facts of your story. Still be passionate and be hungry for success but don’t let your emotions get the better of you.
Take the time to get to know the journalist who writes for that magazine, paper or website you want to feature in. Research articles they’ve written, the tone of the publication and who they are writing for. Get these essential components right and your story will be a perfect fit. Making pitching it so much more easy.
2.Don’t use jargon
As a small business or startup, you’re often disrupting a sector or creating something innovative new within your existing market. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and the excitement of your work, but don’t use any industry jargon when approaching the press or in your press release. You need to make it clear to the journalist that you and your story has mass appeal. If they can’t understand you – their audience won’t either.
3.Practise what you pitch
Once you’ve got your research down and you’ve written that amazing story about your business, the next step is to call the journalist and pitch it to them. Practise this pitch as many times as it takes to feel confident without over rehearsing it. Remember the buck doesn’t stop with the journalist, they may well have to pitch your story to their editor – so have your pitch in email format too, ready to send as soon as you’re off the phone along with your press release. If you have sent your press release over first, and are following this up with a call to the journalist refer to the email you sent. Have it in front of you, so you can refer to it anytime and you’re ready to send it again if need be.
4.Don’t try to be something you’re not
With all the ‘hard sell’ stuff out there online, it’s easy to think that we should have ‘pumped-up-super-powered-awesomeness’ to pitch our story and get it heard. This is not true! Stick to the news facts. Journalists want newsworthy stories, not a load of hyped up razzmatazz. If you have followed the FAMOUS formula – your story should be strong enough to stand out, and by now you should understand your story and key messaging so well, that the story will back up your pitch.
5.Go ‘belt and braces’
You’ve taken the time to tell a story and a journalist will appreciate that. These days news is consumed so quickly everyone is looking for that next great story to tell. Once you’ve got them interested in your pitch, when you send over your press release make it super easy for them to access your story wherever they are. Don’t assume that everyone opens their emails on a desktop, by putting your press release in the body of the email as well as in a simple attachment like a Word doc you’ll be taking all the measures you can to get your story in front of the eyes of your chosen journalist.