Pitch to the Media–Don’t Wait For The Planets To Align
Did you ever have a stroke of genius?
Maybe it was something big and impressive like inventing a new gadget or launching your own business.
Maybe it was one of those D.I.Y. hacks for things lying around the house or the moment you discovered how to fold shirts in two seconds.
Then you asked yourself, “Why did I not think of this before? What took me so long?”
Because even the little things can be life changing. Sometimes your biggest “aha” moment happens when something so small creates a fundamental shift.
People treat the media like the solar eclipse — a once in a lifetime event so rare you have to be lucky to see it. But that’s not true. Yes, it’s true not everyone gets to be on press. Yes, it does feel incredibly special to be featured. But you don’t need to wait for the stars and planets to align. Destiny is in fact right in your hands. In fact, the answer is often staring you right in the face.
Once you learn how easy it is to pitch, you’ll want to say “Eureeka!” Here’s why.
1. You already have all the tools you need.
Newsflash if you have internet you can make connections with almost any journalist out there. With a little know how, you can reach out via email, Linkedin or even Twitter. You don’t need to pay huge money on an agency to do that for you. You don’t need a huge investment. All you need is to know how to hack your story, so your pitch sounds catchy and memorable.
2. The media is constantly trying to feed the “beast.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, news has shifted from printed to digital. Everything is published on the web, and the internet never sleeps. People are constantly craving for new information to entertain, educate or inspire them. This means journalists need stories to fuel their columns, blogs or podcasts.
Just think about the time it takes for journalists. Not only do they have to do their research, write their stories and publish by the deadline, but they now have to keep up with social media.
No, they’re not looking to give you ads. What they desperately need are credible experts to give meat in each article. It has to be something their readers are going to bite and sink their teeth into.
3. Check your calendar.
Time is valuable especially for journalists. You may not realize it, but your calendar can tell you a lot about what’s on a journalist’s agenda.
When journalists read your pitch, they’re secretly thinking, “Why now?” Sure, there are many interesting stories, but you need to give a sense of urgency. For example, pitching a story about warm beaches isn’t going to make much sense during winter. Election season is going to draw even more attention to political stories.
If you can align yourself to what they need, then you’re going to be their go-to expert for their story.
4. If you want something, focus on how you can give.
Don’t confuse being on the media with being a big time celebrity (unless you actually are in which case the world is your red carpet). For most of us mere mortals, this isn’t the case. Journalists and editors aren’t on our feet.
Who are the people that journalists are most interested in?
Easy, it’s their audience of course.
Reframe your thinking from grabbing attention to giving something of value. When you do this, you reap the results tenfold. But first, you need to have a story they can write about not just your own personal agenda. It’s really that simple. Most people can’t see it because they’re busy revolving around what they want to get instead of thinking about what they can deliver to others.
5. It gets easier with time and practice.
Have you ever tried D.I.Y. projects that didn’t quite look right the first time? Yeah, we’ve all been there.
No two businesses are alike. Depending on where you are right now, some of you may find pitching so easy you wonder why you didn’t do it before. Others might have some challenges.
The good news is when you do it yourself, you can always turn rejection into relationship. Even if journalists tell you “now now” or “maybe later,” you’ve already made your mark, and as they get to know you better, pitching stories gets easier over time.
Once you’re published, then it’s even better. When the media already loves you, the media is going to love you even more.