Our colleagues at FGH’s Health Media Insights newsletter recently investigated what works and what doesn’t in pitching reporters to make sure your stories get the attention they deserve.
While it’s impossible to guarantee which pitches will land, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances and strengthen your outreach with reporters.
A 2021 Muck Rack survey of 2,400 journalists found that bad timing and a lack of personalization were among the top reasons pitches were rejected. Additional key findings from the survey are below:
- Roughly 94% of reporters preferred one-on-one emails as the best way to reach out to them with pitches.
- More than half said Monday was the ideal day for pitches, and two thirds said they preferred to get pitched in the morning so they had more time to work through the story throughout the day and week.
The FGH Health Media Insights team interviewed three reporters who agreed that failing to do basic research on a reporter or personalize a pitch email were among the worst offenses.
One reporter says being pitched something that has “nothing to do” with what they cover was an immediate deal breaker. Another said she’s most likely to reject mass email pitches that “show the person knows nothing about me or my work.”
I can say from experience that my early days in DC I was an automotive reporter, and years later journalist databases still had me listed that way and clueless PR folks would pitch me far outdated transportation ideas. Don’t rely on those references alone but check recent articles and Twitter feeds to see if your pitch is on target.
As you build relationships with reporters, consider asking them about their preferences for outreach to help personalize not just what you pitch them, but how.
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