Deciding on What to Pitch — and When

As newsrooms continue to be downsized due to furloughs or layoffs, earning media coverage for your law firm is becoming more challenging. While media list research provides a starting point for your media relations practices, it’s only half of the battle. After you have identified and connected with the ideal news outlets and influencers to reach your target audience, you must determine how you’re going to approach a journalist with your story. Knowing what to pitch and when to do it could mean the difference between landing a story and having your pitch overlooked or ignored altogether. Here are some tips to help you decide. 

Relevant and Newsworthy

According to a study from Muck Rack, 43 percent of journalists receive five or more different pitches each day, so you want to make sure your story is worth their time. Put yourself in a journalist’s shoes. They’re committed to their readers, viewers or listeners just as your firm is to its clients. Focus on important and timely topics to ensure that your pitch has its best chance of being published. 

Staying up on current events and trends provides an opportunity to tie-in your own firm to the subject matter, but it must be done appropriately. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as an example, nearly any story related to the virus will be considered newsworthy but don’t try to force a connection to the virus if one doesn’t exist. Of course you want to be a part of the conversation, but trying to wedge your way in can be counterproductive and damage your relationship with a journalist. 

Quality Over Quantity

From newspapers and magazines to television and radio stations, there’s no shortage of media outlets for your firm to contact, but that doesn’t mean you should mass send your pitches to everyone. Journalists are bombarded with story ideas each day and lack of personalization is the number one reason they ignore an otherwise relevant pitch. Remember that working with the media is about developing relationships. Tailoring your pitch to an individual rather than a group will go a long way toward securing coverage and maintaining that positive relationship.

One way to improve the likelihood that your pitch is considered is to offer an exclusive. Approximately 75 percent of journalists say they are more likely to cover a story if offered an exclusive. The right pitch to the right reporter can be beneficial for both parties. You get third-party credibility to improve your firm’s brand awareness, website traffic and social shares, while they get a story that no other news outlet has. 

Timing is Key

You never know when a story idea is going to hit you. Maybe it’s late at night, you’re winding down with your favorite Netflix show and suddenly an amazing topic comes into your mind. It’s probably a good idea to get your pitch out immediately before you fall asleep and forget right? Wrong. Knowing when to pitch is almost equally as important as knowing what to pitch. 

Nearly 65 percent of journalists prefer to be pitched before noon, compared to just four percent who prefer the evening. If you think of your brilliant idea at a different time, write it out and save it as a draft to send at the opportune time. With 62 percent of journalists having no preference, the ideal day of the week isn’t as cut and dry. However, Monday is the most preferred day for approximately 20 percent. 

Engage Without Being Pushy

We all know that feeling. You have a great idea and it’s practically spewing out of your mouth because you’re so excited to share it with someone else. While it’s important to be passionate about your firm’s story, rein it in when pitching to the media. Email is the preferred method for journalists to receive a pitch, so resist the temptation to pick up the phone and overwhelm them with your own excitement.

That doesn’t mean to flood your message with enough information to fill up a book. Less is more when it comes to pitching as 61 percent of journalists prefer them to be less than three paragraphs. Get to the point and prove the worth of your idea quickly to ensure the best chance of securing a story for your firm. You can follow up if you don’t get a response, but limit it to just one additional email at least three days after your first pitch. 

Keep in mind that even when you do everything right, not every pitch is going to turn into a story for your firm. Even the most well-written ideas can still be passed over by journalists. Think of yourself as a baseball player in the batter’s box for this practice. Even when you strike out, there’s always another opportunity coming and even Babe Ruth only got a hit in 34 percent of his at-bats. 

SAME process. Unique results.

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We’d love to start a conversation with you about how we can create results for you. First step? Request your very own Guide to Ghidotti to learn more about our public relations and content marketing firm. This is a look inside our agency and will give you a good feel for who we are, what we do and how we partner with our clients to move the needle.


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Are You the Next Rock Star on the Ghidotti Team?

The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

Ghidotti is currently hiring an Assistant Account Executive! 

Assistant Account Executive Job Description: 

As an Assistant Account Executive, the staff member will assist the team in the execution of client activities and be exposed to all aspects of the basic services offered at the agency.

Main Responsibilities

  • Develop complete, accurate and effective lists using multiple information sources based on the agency’s resources. (Cision, online resources, etc.).
  • Write/prepare pitches, backgrounders, executive communications and various reports (as appropriate by service function) with supervision from the manager.
  • Effectively pitch and place stories for clients, with an emphasis on placement results (particularly local and regional media). (Digital-specific team members excluded).
  • Be adept at engaging in and creating content for digital media campaigns, including social media, paid campaigns (including early stages of copywriting), e-newsletters, etc.
  • Monitor for trends/marketing/story/lead opportunities that are client- or service-related. Keeping a consistent pulse on the industry trends within your client’s base.
  • Support special events such as media tours, receptions, luncheons, trade shows, grand openings, etc. 
  • Participate in group brainstorming sessions.
  • Continue advancing skills for InDesign, Photoshop and/or WordPress, as well as grasping overall design best practices (depending on position/department).
  • Continue advancing skills in agency platforms such as Cision, TVEyes, Sprout Social, Sprinklr.
  • Maintain relevant Google certifications for AdWords, GDN, Analytics or otherwise, adding at least one additional certification. (Digital team only)
  • Depending on the needs of the service area, responsibilities may extend beyond the items above as skill sets, client contracts and other extenuating circumstances dictate.

 

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

    Whether instructor-led, web-based or sharing during Fireside Friday, we are always learning more!

  2. Community Engagement

    We love the state of Arkansas. Our team enjoys outings to locally-owned businesses and pride ourselves on community involvement. In addition, employees are often offered free tickets to community events to get out and enjoy life with friends and family.

  3. Team Building

    Quarterly adventures for the team!

  4. Winter Recess

    We shut this place down at the holidays so we can all rest, relax and reinvigorate for the new year.

  5. Summer Fridays

    We get an early jump on the weekend every Friday during the summer.

  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

    Along with your PTO, you also get VTO to use to support your favorite charity or organization.

Does this describe you?

To apply, please submit the following via email to careers@ghidotti.com

  1. Cover letter and PDF of your resume 
  2. References: 2-3 minimum
  3. Tell us how you heard about this position