How to pitch the perfect story…

By Roelien Zwart

As a Public Relations Practitioner it is vital to know how to pitch the perfect story to your editor or writer. To come up and have perfect ideas pitched to your editors can be hard and should be interesting in order to capture their attention.

A pitch serves a four-part purpose: It’s your letter of introduction, your sales pitch, and your initial and most important writing sample. It showcases your writing ability and it should also demonstrate your familiarity with the market itself and convince the editor that you are the perfect person to write the story.

Part of being a PR, is to build and maintain relationships and we mostly built those relationships with our media partners. I found that being an expert in one’s profession, you should have a structure that you follow in order to have that perfect pitch story. I like a four-paragraph structure that includes the following elements:

A. A lead to capture the editor’s attention.
B. Development of the story idea – why writing it?
C. “Nuts and bolts” details like working title/potential sources/word count/sidebars/etc.

D. The “I-am-so-great” paragraph where you describe your qualifications and writing background.

How to begin? 

Well, I think the first sentence is absolutely the most important sentence in the entire pitch, as well as your subject line which is your first sentence. If you can’t captivate the reporter’s attention with your hello, you’re less likely to keep them interested to read on about your client. They will just delete it.

It is best to start off with a question or some newsworthy trends. As PR Professionals we likely to do our own thing like we think it should be and we start of with the client’s name, their background perhaps, their credentials and maybe on how awesome they are. Turn that pitch upside down and take the news and put it on top.

How long should the pitch email be? 

Short to the point! Meaning the shorter the better. Reporters or editors don’t have enough time in their day to spend reading a pitch email that is 50 pages long or so.  Rather 50 words! Your story idea should be in those first 50 words, and to be honest, good pitches shouldn’t be loner than one page. As a communications expert, we should be able to get all the relevant and salient information in a limited amount of space.

Check spelling and grammar! 

Once you have compiled your pitch email, re-read your pitch and make sure that there is NO spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. If the reporter or editor spots a spelling mistake – they will delete it once off and won’t even bother to continue reading.

That’s all there is to it. With a pitch, you want to capture the editor’s attention, give a brief overview of the major happenings and news trends, and include a brief synopsis.

Don’t rush your pitch email. Take time to make it the best you can. It may make the difference between selling your idea and having it rejected.

The notes should be perfect in order for the artist to pitch a perfect song to a production company.

Picture: Source: (http://www.google.co.za)

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4 thoughts on “How to pitch the perfect story…

  1. Otherwise it wouldn’t make a perfect story if you donnt have an idea of what you want.

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