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There’s a million and one blog posts from flaks and journos on how to pitch. Maybe they’re worth your time. The “how to” guides of pitching sound the same most of the time though. People tell you that you’re supposed to research the reporter, usually lead with an email, make it short and relevant.

But hey, your pitches and mine still go nowhere sometimes – even with all that effort. “Fucken reporter scum!” you exclaim.

Relax, some of them are but most aren’t. And the truth is blaming the ink-stained wretches gets you nowhere.

So, instead of  a “How to guide” to pitching, let me just tell you about a pitch that went right for me yesterday (the story will appear in Canada’s newspaper of record) and why I think it worked.

  • Like the “Dummie Guides,” blog posts, angry journalists and assorted others recommend, I actually did my research on the reporter and learned about what the guy writes on. It was a realm (Careers) and a reporter I have no previous relationship or familiarity with at all.
  • The pitch was about a particular project and person that are representative of a broader trend going on in society right now. Presenting info in this type of way REALLY increases chances of a journalist responding to you.
  • The project is original and cool, and will thus be of interest to the newspaper’s readers. I reminded the reporter of these facts.
  • The journalist was offered a print exclusive.
  • The pitch was a short email (just over 200 words) that got right to the point without too much gory detail.
  • To buttress the pitch the reporter was sent links to high quality multi and social media content that filled in any gaps in my short email.
  • Another reputable organization – not a news organization – is profiling the project I pitched. This was of IMMENSE value.
  • Even though the journalist took awhile to get back to me (two business days) I was patient. One follow up email was sent but it was not desperate in tone or rude in any way. I made no follow up phone calls but would have yesterday if I still had not received word from the reporter.

That’s my  little anecdote about a successful pitch. Every one is different, so you should take whatever you want from this.

Remember this though:

Unlike pitches re the company’s appointment of John Smith as VP of Midwestern Sales, I did not have to throw shit at a wall. I also found the right person to approach with my story idea. These are the keys.

Want a good “how-to” guide on pitching?

Check out Jeremy Porter’s two part series. Part one is here. Part two, here.

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