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Preparing the perfect media pitch

07 March 2011

You've taken the plunge, you've identified your business news hook, and you're geared up to generate news about your business. Now it's time to 'pitch' your story to the media.

Pitching is 95% preparation, 5% action. Here are my six stepsto perfect pitch preparation:

1.Pinpoint media that your potential clients read, listen to or view.

Otherwise, too much time and effort might be spent getting publicity that never reaches your target market.To find your target media, think about the demographics of your ideal client: age, gender, income, geography, etc. The more specific you are, the better you will be able to tailor your public relations efforts to the right audience.

Now you need to match your ideal client to the media that he/she reads, listens to or views. This will take a little research on your part. The media list might include daily and community newspapers, business journals, radio stations, TV stations, local magazines, and national media outlets.

2.Analyse your target media.

Read back issues, download radio broadcasts or watch a few episodes. Note the names of the journalists covering topics that you can offer opinion on. How do they present stories? Is the tone sensational or dispassionate? You are using your target media to get clues about what they like to cover. The more you practice and analyse the media (and realise more often than not someone has placed those stories by calling the journalists)the easier it becomes to spot story opportunities.

3Create your pitch:

Write a short speech that tells your hook to the media in interesting and concise way, around 10-15 seconds long. Studies have shown that's the time you'll have with a reporter on he phone. That's fine. Just practise well.

4.Prepare supporting pitch points with all the pertinent facts about your company and the story you're pitching before you call.

This is vital, especially if your mindgoes blank when the journalist, producer or editor answers the phone. Having your press materials inpaper form in front of you is also helpful, especially if the fifteen-second pitch sparks their interest and they go onto ask detailedquestions.

5. Prepare more than one story angle/news hook.

Don't waste everybody's time by putting all of your P.R. eggs in one basket. Have a few to suggest. It often makes the difference between success and failure to get placements.

6. Keep a worksheet open on your computer while you're making media calls.

Then you will be able to immediately fill in the details of your activityinstead of trying to remember everything later (pretty impossible).