When working in PR, it can be difficult to get a journalist to accept your press release and print it verbatim. Often times the journalist would rather learn more about the story and write it themselves. This is where a pitch letter becomes helpful. Instead of sending out a random story (which the journalist is very likely to ignore), it is important to “pitch” the story instead. Here are some pointers:
-Personalize your pitch. A writer can easily tell if you have sent the same email to a list of writers. Personally greet them at the beginning. If they have written about the same kind of subject before, let them know that you have seen their work in this subject and that they would probably be interested in your story too.
-Give it a local angle. In Philadelphia there are a lot of general newspapers that are circulated throughout the city and the suburbs. There are also local papers which are found in different sections in the city. If your story has ties to a certain area, let them know! (For example: the story may be about a group of students bettering the Philadelphia community. If there is a kid involved from a certain area, let them know that a local kid is doing this as well!)
-Proofread, proofread, proofread!!!
-Follow-up! A day or two after you send out your pitch, call the people you sent it to and see if they would like more information. (See yesterday’s post for follow-up tips!)