How to Pitch a Story to a Reporter Without Offending Them

5 min read

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When it comes to pursuing media coverage[1], a company is often laser-focused on getting a pitch into a reporter’s hands and winning them over. In the process, it may be easy to forget that reporters are people, too. They’re busy professionals who might feel annoyed or even repulsed by awkward email pitches or follow-ups. 

Marketing teams can approach media outlets and get the desired media coverage[2] without hounding them. Here are the do’s and don’ts of reporter engagement. 

Related: How to Spot Real News from Fake News Online: A Definitive Guide[3]

What not to do

Let’s start with what you should not do when it comes to approaching reporters, especially those you barely know. 

Ignoring boundaries 

Let’s say you met a reporter briefly online or at a recent conference. From there, you added them on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, and maybe the reporter added you, too. So far, so good. 

However, if you jump right into pitching your company[4] or sending a press release via a private social media chat, you’ll most likely not get what you want. The same goes for trying a “cold” phone call out of the blue. These approaches are offensive, because you’re not acknowledging their right to privacy. No reporter wants to be hit with PR pitches that way. You are assuming the reporter is using this channel for reporting purposes, when that might not be the case. And in any event, no one wants to feel used. 

Telling reporters what to write

Another mistake is thinking you are in control of what news story a reporter should write. Doing so assumes you and your brand are more important than the reporter. No reporter wants to hear or feel that. They and the editorial staff at their publication are in control of their professional output, and it’s up to you to determine how to provide them with value. 

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