Who I am and why it might be worth listening to me• I’m a freelance health journalist with over 20 years experience as a writer, features editor and news editor.• I sit on the other side of the fence to you and hear hundreds of sell-ins and pitches and read thousands of press releases from PRs every year• I chair the Guild of Health Writers – an organisation set up to promote excellence in health and medical writing, which means I know lots of other journalists too – and know what they say they want as well
Who do I write for?You’ll see my work in the following outlets
What is in it for you?• Fine tune your pitching skills• Find your news angle/hook• Analyse the elements in a perfect pitch package- news angle,- timeliness,- credible research/ relevant expert input- compelling case study.
What we’re going to cover today• What makes a story• Best and worst way to pitch• Who to pitch to• Key elements of a successful pitch• Practical pitching exercise• Feedback• Summary
What makes a good story ?• It’s new!• If it has an impact on lots of people then it’s easier to sell to a wider audience.• Credible research.• Quotes or interview opportunities speaking to relevant experts.• Human stories.
What doesn’t always make the grade• It’s not new – it’s not a breakthrough• It doesn’t affect a lot of people• No case studies• Awareness week or an anniversary• No news angle/hook• There is no obvious story• It doesn’t fit the reader profile for that publication
Best way to pitch• Example of a Good Pitch• http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-12322
What makes a good pitch?• Learn which journalists/publications respond better to either a phone call or an email.• Do your research around lead times and make sure you know the publication and know its target audience (hot tip!) Get hold of the media pack• Speak to the most relevant person.• Don’t waffle! Just get straight to the point• If it’s important to be in that publication consider offering exclusivity (especially with case studies)• Know the right time to call, when does the publication have their planning meeting?• Jump on the back of a great news story.
Worst type of pitch• When it sounds like the PR is reading from a script.• Opening line is too general there isn’t a hook.• You have to dig out what the news story is by quizzing the PR.• Timing is all wrong• Selling the story too widely.
How to decide who to pitch it to• Target your publications. – National/Regional newspapers – Radio/tv – online – Magazines – Trade journals – Decide where you want to be read about• Research publications – Lead times – Build up an ongoing relationship with individuals – Research who their readership/audience is
How you make the pitch• WHY is it a good story? – Should be explained in no more than 3 sentences – Think in terms of cover lines and headlines – Should be easy to sum up – Anticipate the questions journalists are likely to ask and are able to answer• WHY it is a good story NOW – Spell out what the hook is• WHY it is a good story for that outlet – Demonstrates you’ve thought it through
May the best pitch win!Get yourself into a team of 4. Each person makes a pitch to the group for a story they’d like to sell in to a journalist.Choose the best pitch. Work it up using the points discussed. Summarise your pitch onto a sheet of flip chart paper. Nominate one person from the group to pitch to the room. We’ll all give feedback.• You have 20 minutes in your groups.
Summary• Journalists always need ideas and stories• Research is king!• Timing is everything.• A phone call is never wasted you are building a relationship.• Ask for constructive feedback when your pitch doesn’t get coverage – it will help you next time
For further information on consultancy for charities please contact: Jo Waters on 0208 289 1777 or Nick James Tel: 0203 170 7563 Email: Jo_Waters15@hotmail.com Nick.James@TrioMedia.co.uk