When pitching a reporter there are some key rules to abide by and some basic tips that will help you land the story you want. But when it comes to business pitching, some rules are a little different and it can be a bit tricky to get that business writer’s attention.
As with any kind of pitching, the secret is to tailor your pitch in every way possible. Sending 100 generic pitches is nowhere near as effective as sending two or three to the right people at the right time. So how do you know if your pitch is worthy?
Here are six questions to ask yourself to help point your business pitch in the right direction:
- Who is the audience?
- Remember that the main audience of most business publications are other business owners (or aspiring) themselves! Perhaps that story idea on how your gym business is the best way to get Beyonce’s curves isn’t the best fit for the readers at Fast Company or Entrepreneur.
- What is the takeaway the reader will get from this story?
- This is an important one to remember as business journalists and editors will ask themselves this question before they decide to run with a story idea. What knowledge will the reader gain from this story? How will this story help other business owners in running their own businesses?
- Is this the right person to pitch?
- Nothing irks a journalist more than a pitch that has nothing to do with what they write about. Make sure you research this reporter’s beat thoroughly – just because they did that one piece that one time about the rise in gas prices, does not necessarily mean they are interested in your pitch about gas stations. Read at least 3-5 recent pieces they’ve done!
- Is this a fit for this particular publication/column?
- Making sure your pitch is the perfect fit for a particular recurring column/series will exponentially increase the likelihood of a response and the likelihood of grabbing that coveted slot! Understand what it is exactly that the column talks about, read through the last few ones that have published and tailor your pitch to match common threads. Do the columns almost always ask for the CEO’s favorite book? Include it in your pitch. When you present a pitch that is obviously researched, knowledgeable and provides most everything the journalist will need – you show respect for their time and are that much closer to getting that story.
- Are there any numbers, studies or statistics I can share?
- Business reporters are always looking for recent studies that back up what they’re claiming in the story. If you’re looking to pitch a story on why implementing X improves productivity at your company, find a relevant number that proves it. Did your own company see an increase in total sales when you implemented X? Have recent studies shown that doing X increases employee morale? Anything that will strengthen what you are claiming will boost the credibility of your pitch!
- What kind of story do I want?
- There are many types of business stories – CEO perspectives, business operations, roundups of tips, general stories on a new service/technology/company etc. Figure out what it is you’re trying to gain from this pitch, what kind of story you want to land. This will help you craft a much better and succinct pitch and help you narrow down who you pitch to.
Remember – specificity is key! Now go out there and get that business story!