Don’t piss off the journalist

Six questions to ask yourself before you reach out 

I’ve worked as a journalist. I know how it feels to be on the receiving end of bad media pitches. Besides, I do enjoy reading articles and interviews with journalists who share their unsavoury experiences. 

So, if you don’t want to fall into the bad books of the very people you need to get your story published, the following are on my top 6 items to check before you press SEND. 

1. Have you read/watched/listened to the media that you’re targeting? 

If not, how will you know if it’s the right fit for your news? Is your content suitable? Do they cover such news?

2. Have you done your research on the journalist you’re pitching to? 

If not, how will you know if this is the person you should be pitching to? Is your story relevant to this journalist? Can you picture him or her reporting on this story? 

3. Have you customised your media pitch and news release to each journalist you’re targeting? 

Media pitches should be made to individuals, not sent out en masse.  Just as there are defined target markets in the science of marketing where there’s no such thing as a general audience, you’ll need to identify and speak to each journalist using a tailored approach.  

4. Will the journalist say, “So what?”  

Will he or she care about what you have to say? Because if you haven’t clearly conveyed why the audience should be interested in the news, how they will be impacted, then your pitch will end up in the bin. 

5. Is your news timely? 

Because if there’s not enough lead time to meet media deadlines or if an event is already over, there’s not much the journalist can do, even if he or she likes the story. 

6. Are you polite? 

Be courteous and respectful. Don’t text, message or call after hours unless it’s major breaking news they’ll be grateful for. Don’t pester them if they’re not interested and don’t make demands. Instead, offer helpful ideas and assistance for more information if they should need it.