We frequently engage with journalists and editors from a variety of publications to discuss best practices for pitching news coverage. While everybody has different likes and dislikes, we find certain strategies can be applied to media outreach in general. Below are three tips for successful media relations discussed that we find extremely effective.
1. Pitch a trend, not a company
One of the best ways to improve the strength of a pitch is to build it around a trend, in contrast to focusing solely on one company and its technology. For example, a hot topic in the biotechnology industry today is antibody drug conjugates, which have taken off like wildfire this year. A strong pitch would center on how the field has matured in the past year, with multiple FDA approvals and a surge of deal making occurring, and then lead into the companies involved.
This approach is in contrast to what is often the first instinct for pitching: discussing the advantages of one company’s product or technology. While this trend-based approach will absolutely take more time, the payoff is enormous, as providing context and background for a journalist is extremely helpful.
2. Build relationships
A key component to successful pitching is building a relationship with the journalists with whom you are interacting. This includes face-to-face meetings when possible, but also knowing their beat inside and out. The most efficient way to do this is to read, read and then read some more. Before pitching, you should know their area of focus, what they have and have not covered before, the best news hook for coverage (Publication of data? Deal making? Regulatory actions?) and the background of their readers. A physician-read publication will not be interested in the same types of news as a financial publication, and knowing this difference will strengthen your relationship with the media.
This approach also takes time, but provides valuable insights that will enable you to create personalized, highly targeted pitches. And if you can provide a journalist with high-quality, well thought out stories, you are well on your way to building strong relationships with the media.
3. Get to the point
As a rule of thumb, any good pitch should be not more than three to four sentences in length. If you find yourself running over this amount, that may a sign that your pitch needs to be more focused, which will increase its effectiveness as well. In addition, the media landscape is changing, with journalists having more to cover and less time to do so than ever before, leaving less time to read through lengthy pitches. However, this also means that a good, to-the-point pitch will be even more appreciated.
These are many other media best practices that can be discussed beyond these three, but these are good places to start in order to improve your pitches and build a relationship with the media.