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Having worked in the media industry for well over a decade as a radio producer, I have been on the receiving end of thousands of pitches from business owners and/or their publicists.
Sure – plenty of them were perfect pitches that stood out in my crowded inbox, but there was also a fair share that I slid straight across into the trash folder. Producers have to deal with some fairly intense situations, so sometimes the easiest thing to do is just delete the offending email and move onto the next one.
But don’t let that intimidate you, those mistakes can now be used as lessons for you.
Here are five do’s and don’ts for the next time you pitch to media:
How to Pitch to Media: 5 Do’s and Don’ts
DO: Correctly address the email
You would be amazed at how often I would get emails pitched towards ‘your breakfast show’, when I was working on afternoons. Or the email would be addressed to the producer of a completely different show. Chances are, you would’ve spent hours perfecting your pitch email template, so don’t muck it up in the final minutes when you are copy / paste / re-formatting it.
DON’T: Call when they are on air
Oh my. This is the biggest rookie error. If you are going to call the producer to follow-up after you’ve emailed, know when the best time may be.
Hint: It’s certainly not when the show is live on-air, and they are fielding hundreds of calls from listeners. Common sense should be applied here. Keep in mind the strange hours that these producers tend to keep, and the time of day they would most likely be doing their busiest load of prep for the show.
DO: know the product
Take the time to know the style of show you are pitching to, and tailor your comms so they don’t know you have a list of 100 people you are cold calling. For instance, instead of: ‘Would you like to try our new burger on your show’, you would say, ‘I know Alan has a regular Friday segment where he taste tests food on-air, could we send you in our new burger to try?’
Know the show so you can creatively work your pitch around an existing element, storyline, theme, and character. You can’t listen to every radio show, but you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter etc, which is where most shows put their best foot forward.
"Know the show so you can creatively work your pitch around an existing element, storyline, theme, and character."
DON’T: Send huge attachments and an essay
Keep your pitch and supporting documents brief to increase the chances of it being read in full and replied to. Producers are busy and ruled by daily deadlines, so keep it simple for them.
DO: Be honest with yourself about brand alignment
This is important. Sometimes, it just doesn’t fit. I’m going to say it one more time… Sometimes, what you have to offer, just doesn’t fit.
It’s a bit like the phrase ‘he’s just not that into you.’ Your product or talent simply may not be of interest to that show’s audience. It’s not personal, it’s just the way it is. Save yourself the heartache and really focus on nailing your pitches to the media outlets that are suitable.
Would an FM entertainment show be interested in knowing about the latest research into bird colonies? Nope. BUT there would definitely be a media outlet whose audience would hang off every word of that story. So don’t bark up the wrong media tree.
Have you had any success pitching to media? Share your tips in the comments below! While you’re at it, be sure to give us a follow on Bloglovin’ to keep up with all of our latest posts.