By: McKaylah Austin
This week Matthew Young, an Account Supervisor from Cohn & Wolfe came and spoke to Texas PRSSA about pitching (Media Pitching from Start to Finish).
Distributing your Pitch
After you have your media list and pitch drafted, you should carefully proofread and distribute your pitches by individual email, mail merge and wire services. After sending the pitch out, you should wait and check for bounce backs or OOO replies, and note these in your media list.
How to Work with Media: Initial Outreach
When approaching the media, you should get to your point ASAP and keep your email pitch short and to the point. In the email you should emphasize what is unique about your pitch and say why it’s relevant. Also, don’t forget to leave your contact information!
Young advises to call in the early morning and early afternoon. Late afternoons = deadlines and can produce a cranky reporter. Before calling, research your target. Look at what stories they have posted recently, and follow their social channels. When on the phone, know what you would like to say. You should have a “script” in front of you, and it should only take about 2-3 precise sentences. If rejected, and it will happen, don’t take criticism personally. During the tail-end of the call, anticipate questions about the pitch and attempt to build a relationship.
You’ve Secured Interest, Now What?
Capture all relevant details! Ask about deadlines, the format of the interview (phone, email, in person), and the assets needed. Before you share this information with your client, draft a summary of the interview to share with your team for review. Next, you should share the meeting invitation with a client spokesperson and a reporter. Before the meeting, develop a media brief featuring interview logistics, key messaging, anticipated questions and recent coverage. Make sure to remember to check in with the reporter a day before the interview
If you’re doing a phone interview, make sure to dial in 5 minutes early, and introduce the client spokesperson and reporter briefly. While listening, take detailed notes, and jump in if necessary to remind the client of questions and keep the conversation on track. Afterwards, share follow-up items with reporters ASAP, and then share a summary of the interview with the client and your team.
Monitoring for Coverage
Follow up with the reporter for a publishing date, and set Google alerts to make sure you’re alert! When the article/coverage comes out share it ASAP (always make sure to read the article before sending to make sure that the client will be satisfied, and include a summary of the article in email for them). ALWAYS share the coverage on a shared drive!
And then you have your pitch!