In the fast-paced world of journalism and PR, the perfect pitch can be elusive. Many journalists have their own personal pitch preferences, with some not interested in receiving pitches at all. Moreover, if a pitch doesn't resonate with a journalist, they will not consider it for a story. This means that for a pitch to break through and be successful, it has to stand out. We pitch journalists on behalf of clients to position them as thought leaders in the space and to connect our clients to the publication’s readership. A well-crafted pitch has the potential to shape narratives, drive media coverage and ultimately impact public perception. But what makes a well-crafted pitch?
Understanding Journalists: Preferences and Challenges
According to Muck Rack’s 2023 State of Journalism Study, the perfect pitch is a 1:1 email of 300 words or less that connects to a larger trend. If they are offered an exclusive, most journalists surveyed said they are more likely to cover the pitched story. The study also revealed that most journalists want to be emailed before noon, with over half of the surveyed journalists not caring which day of the week they are pitched. While each journalist’s pitch preferences are inevitably different, understanding widely-held preferences within the industry can lead to your company getting covered by the reporter.
The survey also echoed a pervasive industry sentiment; journalists are tired of receiving irrelevant pitches. With most journalists receiving dozens of pitches a day, some journalists immediately reject even relevant pitches if they are not personalized or come at a bad time. On the other side, the MuckRack 2023 State of PR Study revealed that getting journalists to respond is the top concern of PR professionals, especially in agencies. Ultimately, everyone is looking for the same thing, pitches worth responding to.
Aligning with Journalists' Needs in a Changing Landscape
At Evergreen & Oak, we believe the perfect pitch starts when companies start thinking like journalists. It is important to understand the topics and themes that journalists cover and their writing style. Take the time to research their interests, and if they are a good match for your potential story. Think about the kind of pitch that you would want to receive; straight-forward, compelling, and brief. Journalists receive hundreds of pitches weekly, so it is important to make every word count.
In a 2022 Pew Research Study on Journalism, approximately 72% of journalists surveyed conveyed negative associations when summarizing their industry, particularly focusing on terms like "struggling" and "chaos." With rising concerns over lack of trust in the news, shrinking publication teams, and remaining relevant in the digital landscape, many journalists are being asked to do more with less. It is more important than ever for companies to meet journalists where they are. Help them to grow their knowledge and connect them to sources that can actually help them.
Most importantly, prioritize authenticity. You only have one reputation with a journalist and overselling can ruin it. Journalists are adept at identifying exaggerated claims and dismiss pitches that do not align with their journalistic integrity. By being transparent, truthful, and providing real value, companies can build rapport and foster mutually beneficial relationships with media professionals.
At Evergreen & Oak, we understand that the perfect pitch doesn't just happen. It is the product of years of PR experience, mutually-beneficial media relationships and a desire to create genuine public benefit. That’s our business-as-usual and how we deliver measurable results for our clients. Reach out to us today!