Twice last week I was approached with pitches for Professional Outsourcing Magazine, which I edit among my freelance tasks. I won’t disclose what they were about but they seemed to me to have little to do with outsourcing (there’s a clue in the title as to the publication’s focus.
I waited for the replies. Silence.
This is not how you engage people. Journalists get hundreds of pitches; if you get a reply it’s an opportunity to start a conversation. It’s the sort of thing that’s happened before.
In need of a case study
A few years ago I had a call from a PR person – someone I normally rated as quite good. He pitched a piece of technology for the small business market. I was interested and I said “I’d need a customer to talk to” – he said “Yeah, fair enough” and hung up.
I would have been happy to pitch his story to the Guardian if he’d come up with a case study for me – as it was he didn’t bother, his script was finished and that was it, onto calling the next hack and no doubt getting a similar knockback (or thinking that he’d been knocked back). Contrast that with the approach taken by another contact on another occasion, when listening got them a full page in the Guardian.
The thing is, we need stories. We need information and we can’t function without it. You may be precisely the person to offer it and if our needs are a slightly different shape from the pitch you had in mind, don’t worry – be flexible, it might turn out quite well for you.
But if a journalist gets in touch, always think of it as a starting point rather than a brush-off.
Does your company need coaching on pitching to journalists? I can help – why not drop me a note using this form?