A User Guide to Pitching Do’s and Don’ts

A User Guide to Pitching Do’s and Don’ts

According to our recent survey, transportation journalists publish up to a dozen pieces of content each week. 46% indicated they will base their content mostly or entirely on pitches, and 54% base content on pitches a quarter of the time. That leaves media relations professionals ample opportunity to get their story ideas seen and their clients incorporated into an article. 

“Earned media remains a critical component of a successful communications strategy,” says Karah Davenport, Senior Vice President at Stratacomm. “As the role of the modern journalist includes more and more digital content creation, nothing replaces a compelling story packaged with well-crafted visuals and a targeted pitch.”  

So what makes a reporter want to open that pitch, let alone respond and give you coverage? 

Research the outlet, the journalist, and recent coverage  Cold call or blind pitch a journalist with a story that’s not relevant to their beat  
Email your pitch directly  Pitch a topic that has been covered recently (without new information)  
Review/proof your email and content for typos before sending  Sound like a salesperson  
Provide useful assets (e.g. photos, videos)  Tag or DM on social media with a pitch idea (unless you have a rapport and know they’re comfortable with this)  

The responses to our research questions about pitching preferences reveal a new standard of etiquette. Read our full list of pitching do’s and don’ts and get more media relations insights when you download our whitepaper: What Transportation Journalists Want: How PR Pros Can Engage Them Better.  

What would cause you to immediately reject a pitch about a topic you cover?  

  • Irrelevant topic  
  • Nothing new  
  • Wrong industry  
  • If a pitch showed that the sender had no idea of the publications I wrote for, or no idea of the subjects I usually write about.  
  • I try to avoid highly regionalized pitches. For upcoming events I like 5 days’ notice if at all possible.  
  • Any pitch I accept MUST have an SEO angle for my client and utility for my audience.  
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