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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Request Your Guide to Ghidotti!

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 for three positions listed below – Account Executive, Account Supervisor and Media Relations Manager.

Account Executive Job Description: 

In the Account Executive position, emphasis is placed on growing independent work within the areas of project management, client relations, media relations, digital/marketing, and/or lead generation among other skills. You are the face to our clients and will play an integral role in daily communication and should be able to demonstrate tactical excellence. 

  • Write client and internal correspondence effectively and with limited supervision.
  • Successfully plan and execute client activities such as media tours, digital and social campaigns, business missions and/or other special events. 
  • Proactively identify blog content story ideas and work with the supervisor to develop. 
  • Develop relevant blogs, e-newsletters and website content effectively and with limited supervision. 
  • Successfully manage independently the execution of all client content calendars, which can include media relations pitch calendars, blogs, social content and paid media campaigns.
  • Exhibit competency and efficiency in drafting copy for client marketing materials and/or campaigns, such as website content, e-newsletters, collateral materials, paid media campaigns, etc. 
  • As it relates to social/digital media, regularly suggest ideas, manage the planning, and comfortably execute campaigns on behalf of clients. Efficiency with Canva, a plus!
  • Assist in the management of interns, when applicable. 
  • Be proficient in WordPress.
  • Easily navigate agency platforms such as Cision, TVEyes, Sprout Social, Sprinklr.
  • 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.

Apply for this open position by emailing Bethany Siems at bethany@ghidotti.com.

 

Account Supervisor Job Description: 
In the Account Supervisor position, a staff member will be responsible for assisting and managing the public relations, content marketing, digital media, account services and/or creative/strategy for clients. This position requires fully developed specialty skills, a strong understanding of the industry landscape and an understanding of client priorities and objectives.
  • Serve as the account strategist/lead and oversee/play a clear leadership role on at least three clients.
  • Manage the implementation of work plans and ensure client deliverables are successfully met on deadline.
  • Play a leadership role in the sales process by identifying additional services to sell to existing clients and assisting with RFP responses, new business proposals, presentations, etc. with senior leadership or independently.
  • Display a strong understanding of and effectively communicate Ghidotti’s service offerings to existing clients.
  • Successfully supervise at least one junior staff member, including providing guidance on their professional growth.
  • Begin to play a role in the agency’s marketing efforts, guiding aspects of certain campaigns and/or helping to execute in their areas of expertise.

Account Services: 

  • Play a clear leadership role in the planning and execution of integrated marketing campaigns for clients.
  • Develop and write comprehensive strategic marketing plans for clients.
  • Handle vendor contracts and ensure proper billing.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of successfully meeting deadlines and timelines.
  • Handle day-of logistics on behalf of clients, responding quickly and effectively.
  • Assist in providing leadership and professional development on client relations, helping team members improve their skills in managing conflict, presentations, sales, etc.

Client Strategy: 

  • Develop or oversee the visual content creation for client materials, including e-newsletters, website content, digital campaigns, marketing collateral, etc.
  • Oversee the development of marketing materials and branding campaigns.
  • Manage creative marketing campaigns on behalf of clients.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of leading brainstorms, and providing and implementing creative ideas for proposals, presentations, etc.
  • Continually provide new and ‘fresh’ ideas for proposals, new business proposals and current clients’ marketing campaigns.

Apply for this open position by emailing Bethany Siems at bethany@ghidotti.com.

 

Media Relations Manager Job Description: 

In the Media Relations Manager position, a staff member will be responsible for assisting and managing the public relations, content marketing, digital media, account services and/or strategy for clients. This position requires fully developed specialty skills, a strong understanding of the public relations industry landscape and an understanding of client priorities and objectives. 

Main Responsibilities – General: 

  • Serve as the account strategist/lead and oversee/play a clear leadership role on media relations client accounts.
  • Display a strong understanding of and effectively communicate Ghidotti’s service offerings to existing clients. 
  • Successfully supervise at least one junior staff member, including providing guidance on their professional growth.

Main Responsibilities – Media Relations: 

  • Develop strategic media relations plans, direct management and outreach for client accounts with the supervision of Senior Leadership.
  • Perform with Senior Leadership to prepare a plan for strategic crisis communications.
  • Manage and facilitate the execution of media relations outreach for special events, programs and major initiatives.
  • Perform as spokesperson and coordinates official responses to media inquiries.
  • Conduct media training with clients in preparation for external media interviews. 
  • Support framing and development of main message points for better positioning prior to media interviews.
  • Prepare speeches, talking points and varied communications materials assisting client spokespersons.
  • Write pitches, backgrounders, press releases, key messages and blog posts.
  • Manage and monitor reporter hotline, client media relations calendar, metrics, media relations processes and press release approvals.
  • Propose ideas proactively for media pitches to stimulate media coverage.
  • Consistently pitch stories and secure strategic media placements assisting client reputation and business goals.
  • Manage and supervise media events along with initiatives defining company stories.
  • Identify proactive stories for trade, business as well as consumer media across multiple client industries.
  • Develop and maintain close media relations to improve press efforts.
  • Identify brands promoting opportunities and improve awareness of services and products.

Main Responsibilities – Client Strategy: 

  • Develop or oversee the visual content creation for client materials, including e-newsletters, website content, digital campaigns (webinar/live stream events), etc.
  • Demonstrate a clear track record of leading brainstorms and providing and implementing creative ideas for proposals, presentations, etc.
  • Continually provide new and ‘fresh’ ideas for new business proposals and current clients’ PR campaigns.

Apply for this open position by emailing Bethany Siems at bethany@ghidotti.com.

 

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?

Apply for one of our open positions or just send us an email letting us know why you should be part of this Rock Star team. Email bethany@ghidotti.com.