Pitching to journalists is an essential part of public relations. As well as distributing press releases, it’s the most effective way of earning press coverage and bringing recognition to your cleantech business. However, to do it successfully, you need to know what a pitch is, how to write an effective one, and when to contact the media about a story. Read on for insights on how to successfully pitch to journalists.
Finding your hook
Every proactive pitch needs a hook. This is how you present your news, story or idea so that it demonstrates newsworthiness and catches the attention of journalists. The angle you lead with will depend on what type of content you’re pitching – here are some common examples:
- Offer a new perspective: providing a fresh point of view will ensure that you stand out from the crowd.
- Provide new insights: has your technology revealed new data on an established area?
- Share the counterargument: provide a different take on a popular topic, though you must ensure this is backed up by data or established facts.
- Break new ground: is your cleantech company doing something never done before? If so, shout about it from the rooftops!
Structuring your pitch
Journalists are incredibly busy, with some receiving approximately 80 different pitches every day. This shows how difficult it will be to even receive a response from a journalist to a proactive pitch, which is why you need to structure it so that it stands out from the crowd:
- The subject line: this is your first chance to grab a journalist’s attention.
- Personalise the opening paragraph: provide context and show that you’ve done your research into the journalist.
- Context and angle: layout your story and provide supporting data, facts and references.
- Flesh it out further: though onlyif necessary – be succinct, this won’t give the journalist the chance to tune out.
- Details of your cleantech company and proof of expertise: use your messaging guidelines – it’s what they’re there for!
- Explain what you’re offering: are you offering an interview opportunity, podcast appearance, thought leadership article or comment as part of a broader story?
Tips for reactive pitching
Reactive pitching can be just as important and also lead to great coverage. Here’s some advice for ensuring you take advantage of the latest industry movements and are ready to pitch your business as a source of expertise:
- Monitor the news: make use of news alert tools such as Google or Talkwalker Alerts.
- Be prepared: put together an approved document of answers to frequently asked questions, this will save you time in the long run.
- Pick your moments: climate change isn’t going away anytime soon, so don’t try to shoehorn your company into a story without a strong link. There’ll be lots of news to react to and comment on.
- Identify your target journalists and publications: it’s important to know who you want to target with reactive pitching.
- Repurpose previous content: whitepapers, blogs, webinars will be full of content that you can reuse in pitches.
Utilising social media
Social media is growing in importance when it comes to engaging with journalists. Thanks to the pandemic, it’s harder than ever to meet journalists in person. Industry events have been cancelled or moved online, people are working from home more regularly, and restrictions on travel and hospitality mean it’s not quite as simple as it used to be to arrange a coffee or bite to eat.
Interacting on social media is now one of the best ways of building relationships with journalists, with Twitter being the best platform for this. You should aim to build relationships with journalists online like you would do if you met them in real life. Make sure you’re following them as a starting point, then start engaging with their content – likes, comments and shares will all be appreciated. Then, when you feel the time is right, provide context on industry news or point them in the direction of interesting research.
Remember to keep your interactions friendly, without pressure or expectation and commit time to building a relationship before wanting coverage. You shouldn’t just expect this to happen purely because you’ve liked a couple of tweets or sent one message their way.
This article is adapted from our latest webinar, which can be watched on-demand below: