How to Pitch a Journalist and Get Coverage in 6 Easy Steps

how to pitch a journalist and get coverage

Getting major media coverage is really easy.  It doesn’t matter which niche your in.  The trick is to not spam, mass mail or share a press release.

Instead pitch the journalist by showing the person that you read their content and how the writer’s article benefited you.  From there you just need to make sure your pitch is relevant to their interests and most importantly will benefit their audience.

Here is how I pitch journalists and get media coverage in 6 easy steps:

  1. Find at least two topically relevant articles (one must be recent)
  2. No “we, we” syndrome
  3. Comment on something that can only exist within their post
  4. Compliment, don’t judge
  5. Don’t leave a statement blank
  6. Remove why your company is great, who the founders are and anything not relevant to what the editor writes about

Find at least two topically relevant articles (one must be recent)

The first step is to find journalists that write about your topic and still work for the publication.  You can automate this with scrapers or do it manually.  Manually is easy so don’t stress if you aren’t familiar with crawling and scraping data.

You can find editors by:

  1. Searching for a keyword or phrase on the website
  2. Open one article by each journalist in a new tab
  3. Clicking through to the editor’s bio page
  4. Looking for topically relevant posts

Now comes the important step.

Look for a directly relevant post (regardless of how long ago the post was written) and a recent article that is also on topic for what you’re pitching.  This shows the editor covers what you’re looking for coverage on semi-regularly and that the journalist likely still writes for the publication.

No “we, we” Syndrome

“We, we” syndrome is when the majority of the pitch (or content on a website) is all about you or your company and not about the person you are trying to engage with.  It is easy to find by looking for the words “I”, “me”, “our”, “my”, etc…

If most sentences or even 25% of them contain these words, there is a good chance that your pitch is about you and not about the benefits to the journalist.  The goal here is to change these “we, we” words for “you”, “your”, etc…

Example 1:

Do not say: “I enjoyed your article.”

Do say: “Thank you for your article.”

By removing the “I” and replacing it with “you” we’ve made it about the writer and not about ourselves.  This goes a long way, especially since we’re the ones needing the favor.

Comment on something that can only exist within their post

Next we want to make sure our comments are 100% unique. It is not hard to scrape a site and extract keywords, publish dates, contact information, etc…  This data can be added to a database and we can blast emails that use dynamic inserts.  This can be effective if you’re a hot topic, but for the most part it annoys editors and in many cases it is obvious you didn’t read their content.

Commenting about something that only exists within the author’s content helps you stand out and is one of the things that helps you get media coverage.

Example 1:

Do not say: “Your recent article about blue widgets with the video is great.”

Do say: “Thank you for your recent article about blue widgets with the video in the middle.  Your tip about ABC above the video and the follow up pointer at minute 2 helped me to learn how to resolve XYZ.”

Example 2:

Do not say: “The SEO tip you gave about title tags and being 55 characters or less is awesome!”

Do say: “Your SEO tip about title tags and making sure they are 55 characters or less about 3 paragraphs into your post from last September is a fantastic reminder.”

By taking the extra minute or two and finding something that only exists in this post, or specifying where it is in the post, you can start to stand out.

Compliment, Don’t Judge

We naturally tend to say “I love…” or “Your XYZ is fantastic!”.  Although this is how we speak, it is also judging the person while making it about you.  To resonate with the reader, try to show how the journalist’s content benefited you vs. why you think their choices are great.

Example 1:

Do not say: “I love your yellow dress from Nordstrom.  It looks stunning with the blue hair tie.”

Do say: “Thank you for sharing that you found the yellow dress in the third photo at Nordstrom.  I can’t wait to pair it with the blue hair tie from Macy’s for the XY I’m going to next week.”

By phrasing our compliment this way we’ve shown that we enjoyed the journalists information and that their information helped you.

Don’t leave a statement blank

When you compliment the person, don’t leave the statement blank.  Remember to finish the thought or explain why you are grateful, how you benefited, or the reason you’re complimenting the person.

Example 1:

Do not say: “Thank you for the great tip about blue widgets in the third spot on your listcicle from august of last year.”

Do say: “Thank you for the great tip about the ABC blue widget in position three from your listcicle last August.  Knowing it will last for 10 years vs. the one in position 2 is a massive selling point for me.”

Example 2:

Do not say: “Your note about blue widgets in your article from September is great.  Thank you also for the pointer in last week’s guide to blue widgets.”

Do say: “Your note about blue widgets in your article from September is great. Thank you for reassuring me that it will be compatible with XYZ.  The tip in position 6 from your article last week about blue widgets is also really helpful.  I’m about to redo my kitchen and this is going to save me a ton of money!”

Although these statements are customized because of the dates, and you mentioned they talk about the topic twice, we forgot to say why they’re great.  We also did not share how the article helped us.  By adding these last thoughts in in we turn a blank statement into something that is more meaningful.

Remove why your company is great, who the founders are and anything not relevant to what the editor writes about

The last tip is one that your company might frown upon, but it matters.  Unless you are paying for an advertorial, your owner is Steve Jobs and the editor will get direct access to him, or something beyond incredible (not just in your own company’s opinion), you and your company do not matter.

Journalists and editors need to write content for the publication’s reader base.  Your pitch needs to transition from the topic the writer covers into how your product, service, or piece of content will add value to their audience.  Your company’s products and services, or founders, do not do this on their own.

What will help their audience is knowing there is a growing problem in the niche and you or your company has the experience or products to solve the problem.  Try sharing a couple of examples of the solution (without pitching your services or products).  This may help to inspire another article.

From there I normally offer an expert from the company (without sharing a full bio, just relevant experience) or ask permission to share a content piece I created if the writer feels like it will be of value to their readers.

Sometimes I’ll include a link and ask for feedback, but asking for permission to share instead of just sharing can go a long way.  It is more conversational so you can also build a relationship.  Once that relationship is built it is easier to get more coverage later on.

And that is how I pitch a journalist and get coverage.  It might take a bit of extra work, but the end results pay off.  I do this for my own personal websites and I also do it for my clients.  It works for SEO, affiliate and brand building.

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2 thoughts on “How to Pitch a Journalist and Get Coverage in 6 Easy Steps”

    1. Hi Michael,

      Great question! When someone first starts out doing this it can easily take 10 to 15 minutes per email to customize and send. Once the person gets the hang of it they can normally do one every 5 minutes. I have a couple tricks to speed it up.

      Once sent it can take anywhere from 3 days to a couple months to get a response. We also do a follow up series featuring both customized and slightly customized emails. My team normally hears back from about 1 in 3 or 1 in 5. The take rate is also very high. But the outreach needs to follow the guidelines exactly for this.

      I hope this helps,

      Adam

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