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The Do's and Don'ts of Pitching Journalists

 
 
As the PR world expands and newsrooms shrink, pitching journalists has become more challenging than ever. Journalists are being tasked with more responsibility and their time is becoming more precious. 
 
Therefore, we have devised a list of do’s and don’ts for pitching journalists in the current communication world:
 
DO research a reporter’s beat and recent articles they have written. The fastest way to being “spammed” by a reporter is sending them an off-topic pitch or a pitch on a story they recently covered without offering a new angle.
DO send relevant follow up information on a client they covered when applicable. Journalists don’t have as much time to dig for content so the benefits of sending them a follow up angle are twofold; get your client more coverage while cultivating a working relationship with a reporter. 
DO send all pertinent information to a reporter after they agree to cover your story. A fact sheet, bio on the subject, headshot, and a company logo are all examples of things that should be included in your confirmation email to a reporter. 
DO send an interview confirmation sheet to the reporter. Sending a confirmation sheet, with talking points included, ensure the proper of time and place for the interview are correct while also allowing you to control the story. 
DON’T distribute a press release for the sake of doing so. If a client wants a press release crafted and distributed inappropriately, it is the publicist’s job to properly explain why that is the case. Explain how distributing a press release without a compelling story is counterproductive and can get you blacklisted by certain reporters if done on multiple occasions.
DON’T send a “did you receive my email?” follow up to a reporter within 36 hours of your original email. Surprisingly, journalists are not sitting in front of their computers waiting for your email to enter their inboxes. Give them two business days to respond to your inquiry unless it is very time sensitive and you have specified that in your email. 
DON’T pitch a reporter with whom you do not already have an established relationship via social media. It is in bad taste to do so. Remember, who is asking the favor of whom? 
DON’T pitch a reporter an advertisement. Be clever enough to come up with a newsworthy angle or don’t send an inquiry.
 
These are the basic do’s and don’ts for pitching journalists. If Annex Communication can assist in your PR initiatives, feel free to contact us by phone, (954) 332-3688 or email