DC-area communicators gathered together on Thursday, March 6 for a media relations bootcamp and luncheon we hosted. Four of our area’s leading broadcast reporters and personalities, Michelle Basch from WTOP, Matt Bush from WAMU, Tommy McFly from 94.7 Fresh FM, and Alisa Parenti from MarketWatch, joined us for lunch to offer their insights into most effectively pitching your news story. Here are some of the highlights:
- Do your homework: Know who you are pitching to and figure out how you can relate your pitch to them somehow, whether it is relating your pitch to something they have recently talked about or something in their personal lives.
- Grab their attention with the subject line: Your subject line is everything. Make sure it grabs their attention and causes them to become curious enough to open your email.
- Don’t talk about this story already being featured on another station: This makes the reporter feel like they are late to the game and almost instantly turns them away. It’s fine to give credibility to your spokesperson by mentioning where they have appeared in the past for a different story.
- Twitter, Twitter, Twitter: The majority of the reporters said that they like being pitched over Twitter because they know that if someone can write a good pitch in 140 characters then they will provide them with all of the info they need in a short story. Twitter also gives you more access to more people. Also, if they do report on your story, make sure to re-tweet their story after they post about it.
- Always follow up: Always follow up with your reporter and ask for feedback in a wrap up email. Ask if they liked it, if they might be interested in doing more similar to that one, or what else they might be interested in.
We sincerely thank the panelists for their helpful suggestions and tips. We also thank our great guests in attendance for asking such relevant and insightful questions. Look for more blog posts and videos next week.
by Kiley Skene and Kelsey Pospisil