Improve Your Content in 7 Minutes

3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch

Episode Summary

We’ve all been there. You think you got a good or at least decent story, but when you pitch it to the media, an online publication or podcast, you hear nothing back or there’s no response. I know this can be disheartening, especially if you’re new to the PR game. In this week’s podcast, I am going to share with you the three main ingredients to getting your story pitch noticed by those who have the power to say “yes”! I’m also going to give you my email PR Story Pitch Template. This week's episode is longer than normal because we have a lot to cover! I hope you get value out of it. See you in there.

Episode Notes

Hi everyone, thank you for joining me again. 

In today’s episode, "3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch", you’ll learn how to get your story pitch noticed by those who have the power to say “yes”! 

I’m also going to give you my email PR Story Pitch Template so listen in.

02:34 Tip 1. Know the story you want to tell

03:24 Tip 2. Know your target publication, journalist or host

04:43 Tip 3. Know how to write a pitch

05:46 Bonus tips

06:31  To recap

Remember to listen to the full episode for all the details.

Download your PR Story Pitch Template.

To learn more about my business marketing services and training courses visit my website: simonecunningham.com

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◾️ Over 30-minutes, we’ll come up with ideas for your PR story pitch and discuss a plan to capitalise on your thought leadership opportunities to get you seen in 2022. Book here.

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Enjoy the rest of your day. I'll see you in the next episode.

Simone 🌸

Location: Gold Coast, Australia.

Episode Transcription

3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch

Welcome to Improve Your Content in 5 Minutes, the podcast that’s here to make your business’s content, videos and public relations memorable through tips and hacks that can be learned in minutes.

We’ve all been there. You think you got a good or at least decent story, but when you pitch it to the media, an online publication or podcast, you get Zip, Zero, Zilch, Nada. Not even a return email saying “thanks, but no thanks”.

I know this can be disheartening, especially if you’re new to the PR game. So today I am going to share with you the three main ingredients to getting your story pitch noticed by those who have the power to say “yes”! I’m also going to give you my PR Story Pitch Email Template, so stay tuned.

I’m Simone Cunningham, a content and public relations expert, with 20 years of industry experience, and every week I share actionable tips about content, video creation, and how to get your story featured in the media and online, so you can take your business from invisible to in demand.

To learn more, visit me at simonecunningham.com.

There’s a lot to cover today, and again I’ll struggle to keep it to 5 minutes, but I’ll do my best.

Firstly, I’m going to quickly recap what a PR or media story pitch is. If you want more detail make sure you check out my other podcasts on the topic.

Essentially, a PR story pitch is a short personalised message that outlines the value of a story and explains why it should be published. It’s usually about 200 words long, or 2-3 paragraphs. 

Sounds simple right? Well, it can be, but there’s also a lot of room to go wrong, which is why so few pitches make it past the inbox of editors, journalists, producers and hosts.

If I was to sum up how to craft a PR story pitch in one sentence, I would tell you to tailor it, like you would a cover letter for a job application. General PR pitches and blanket emails will almost always get deleted.

So, what then is the solution? Let’s get into the 3 ingredients for a compelling PR story pitch.

Number 1. Know the story you want to tell

This is one of the most common mistakes that I see. You need to get crystal clear on what you want them to do a story on and why it’s interesting or of value to their audience. This is called the ‘story hook’. You need to be able to sum it up in two or three sentences. 

Think of it this way, if you don't know the story you want to tell and can’t sell it to them, why should they care? 

It’s harsh, but true. Editors, journalists, producers and hosts all have audiences to answer to, so make sure you’re selling the benefits of why your story matters to them and their audience. 

My first podcast, 3 reasons why your media pitch gets ignored or deleted will really help you there, as I go into a lot of detail. 

Number 2. Know your target publication, journalist or host 

Please don’t even think about pitching an idea to a publication or podcast host until you’ve done your research. This is also one of the main reasons why your pitch gets rejected. In fact, it’s probably not even been seen by the right people in the first place.

Before you even start writing your pitch, you need to figure out the right publication, vlog or podcast for your story. This means research, and lots of it.

In your niche or area of expertise, you need to start Googling to find people who are speaking or writing about your topic, or publications and podcasts that create content for your target audience. Start with keywords for your topic

You then need to read through their articles, watch their videos or listen to their podcasts so you can answer five key questions… Who is their audience? What kind of language do they use? What content types are they publishing? Has your topic already been covered? If yes, can you find a new angle? And, who do you send your pitches to? 

Finally, make sure you follow the submission guidelines - they’re there for a reason. If you don’t, you risk getting your pitch rejected before it’s even read.

Number 3.  Know how to write a pitch

There’s a formula involved and it goes something like this. 

1. Write a clear subject line with the word ‘pitch’ in the title. 

2. Introduce your story with an attention-grabbing opening sentence. Don’t ramble on for several paragraphs, get to the point of what your story is about.

3. Explain why they should feature you or publish your story. 

4. Write a bio paragraph with your qualifications.

5. Thank them for their time. It’s polite and builds rapport for next time, even if they reject your pitch.

6. After your sign-off include your contact information, social media accounts, and links for additional information, not attachments.

7. Always proofread before hitting send. You want to look as professional as possible. Need I say more?

Use this information to work out which publications or podcasts to send your pitches to.

To help you write your pitch I have an email template you can download. I’ll give you the details soon.

Now I’ve got two quick bonus tips for you - track your pitches and follow up. I suggest you track your pitches in a spreadsheet so you know who you’ve contacted, when, and whether they accepted or rejected your idea. Also mark, when to follow them up if you haven’t heard back yet. 

Yes, I recommend following them up once. Generally wait around two weeks unless your piece is time sensitive, or they’ve given you guidelines.

At the end of the day, it’s important to keep pitching, and putting yourself out there. Set a goal to pitch to a certain number of people each week. Like most things in life the more you do it the better you get at it. Persistence will pay off in the long run.

To recap:

1. Know the story you want to tell

2. Know your target publication, journalist or host

3. Know how to write a pitch

I hope you have a better understanding of what editors, journalists, producers and hosts are looking for in your story pitch. I wish you great success this year in generating publicity for your business.

If you would like some extra help in crafting your PR pitch, don’t forget to download my free PR Story Pitch Email Template, click on the link in the show notes. 

If you’re ready to share your knowledge and be interviewed on podcasts, or on YouTube, Facebook, and website vlogs but don’t have a pitch, this is where I can help. Over a FREE 30 minute session, we’ll come up with fresh ideas for your pitch so you can start being Seen As The Go-To Authority In Your Niche. Again, I’ve popped the link in the show notes.

Also, remember you can join my Facebook Community - Media and Content Strategies for Driven Business Owners for more tips to help you attract clients through leveraging your content and knowledge.

To learn more about my business services and training courses visit my website:

 simonecunningham.com