A Reporter’s Perspective on PR: Making the Pitch a Win-Win

As a journalist, I got used to a full inbox. Every glance at my email came with the added adventure of sorting through another batch of misguided PR pitches.

“Perfect story for you,” “Exclusive,” “Local resident wins award.”

Ninety-nine out of 100 pitches presented story ideas with zero relevance to the readers of my publication. Reporters learn to live with the background noise of pitch emails and calls bogging down their day.

So why would that experience make me want to jump to the darkside?

Simple: opportunity.

Why can’t PR pitching be a win-win?

As a reporter, there is never a time when a good story idea is a burden. Creating targeted, innovative pitches is an opportunity to provide reporters with pertinent stories is valuable! Not email blasting or cold-calling media lists, but working to understand a journalist and what he/she writes to provide a story idea that is compelling and – most importantly – relevant.

A few keys to a good PR pitch from a reporter’s eyes:

  • Make sure the pitch is on target! That can’t be stated more emphatically. So many pitches waste time for everybody involved by pitching the wrong publications and reporters.
  • Give me the news. No reporter wants to waste time chatting with PR reps. Jump to the news and the critical information to keep interest.
  • Meet the deadline. Reporters often need answers quickly, but nothing sours a relationship with a PR person and their vendor more than missing a deadline because the person couldn’t deliver on time.

Providing relevant and helpful content requires research before you pitch, but it makes the reporter-PR relationship more beneficial on both sides.