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Making your pitch to the media count

You’ve kicked off your DIY publicity campaign, and you’ve written a killer media release and have your media list ready to go. Now it’s time to pitch your idea to the media, which is arguably the most important step in any PR campaign. Here are some ideas for ensuring your pitch catches the attention of the journalists you target.

Take a deep breath because it’s time to pitch to the media. There are a number of ways you can do this but we’re going to focus on the email method.

There are a couple of parts to this process. Firstly you need to write a good subject line. This needs to be something that is interesting but also needs to let the journo or producer know it’s a pitch. It also needs to give enough information that it is easy to find if they need to come back to it.

Here are a few we’ve written lately:

-Urban Kreation jeans – five times tougher than steel!

-New goggles with built in video camera record the action on the slopes.

-A business so clever it took a mum to think of it!

-Hard hitting new film – The Gathering – tackles teenage binge drinking

-Get Snotty this Winter!

Next comes the opening paragraph. This is not part of your media release but rather an introduction to the release and must summarise what is contained in the release. Remember to personalise each email too.

For example:

Hello Sue,

With teen binge drinking at dangerously high levels, a new film has been produced to help teens make better choices when it comes to alcohol and partying. The film, titled ‘The Gathering’, depicts a very real teen party culture and will give adults an understanding of the issues and threats teens face and enable discussion about partying safely and minimising harm.
The full media release is below and a trailer can be seen here:

http://www.melvillecity.com.au/community/health/the-gathering-dvd/the-gathering-movie-trailer If you would like a copy of full 27 minute film, to interview the people behind the project, or require hi-res images please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Here is another example:

Hi Todd, Check out these awesome new video camera goggles now available in Australia. Skiers & snowboarders are seriously going to love them. Please let me know if you’d like to feature/review them and require hi-res images, or would like to use them somehow.

You can see them in here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqLGS9CeBt0

Then you embed your media release into the email. If it’s not too large a file you might also like to attach it. Copying and pasting it into your email means there is one less hoop for the journo or producer to jump through. It’s important to make sure your contact details are on the release. We like to put a photo of the item up the top to of the release so it is the next thing they see.

Before you actually send it to the first media person, send it to yourself and a friend. Make sure it comes through looking good but isn’t a huge file. The images on your release should be low resolution. Keep hi-res versions of the images on hand in case they are asked for. Once you are happy with how it looks and appears in your own inbox you can start sending to everyone on your list.

A few things to remember. If you are forwarding the email pitch remember to delete the “Fwd:” from your subject line when sending to the next person. Also remember to change the name of the person you are sending to. If you are sending to a general news desk just write Good morning, or Good afternoon.

You may find you get a few of the media come back to you immediately with requests for images or samples or interviews. Others will take a few days to get to it so don’t despair if you don’t hear anything straight away.

Finally it is very important to keep track of what you have sent out. Whenever you send someone an email or get a response keep a record of it in an Excel spread sheet.

So what are you waiting for? Go and pitch your story today!

Jules Brooke

Jules Brooke

Jules Brooke is one of the founders and Directors of DIY PR website <a href="http://www.handleyourownpr.com.au">Handle Your Own PR</a>. She is a passionate entrepreneur with lots on the go. Jules’ background in sales, advertising and graphic design led her along a windy road to becoming a small business owner. She loves helping others get their business in the media.

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