Free, positive publicity – is the best form of publicity – especially if you get a free link to boot. Knowing how to approach, pitch and work with journalists can really be significantly beneficial for a business and truly help it grow on and offline. 

Below is a sustainable approach to get the attention of national and industry journalists and one that has served us well, and should do the same for you.

Know Who And What You’re Pitching

You should have researched the topics before pitching what you have so that know which the publication does and does not cover. You may have to go through past articles and some investigation, but it will be worth the effort. It might be a waste of time if you pitch a topic that the publication has already written about or doesn’t cover. Moreover, such a move also casts you in a negative light because it seems that you are the least bothered with figuring out the kind of material the publication likes or finds interesting.

However, keep in mind that another journalist or reporter may have done a piece on a topic, but that does not mean you cannot pitch something related to the same subject. Try and use a different angle as you pick a few pointers from the previous articles. In such a case, you should refer to that article in your pitch and explain why your story is offering a new approach to the topic.

If you are pitching bloggers, check out their ‘About’ page to find their areas of interest and the target audience so that you can figure out the sort of stories they want. It also helps you find whether they are accepting pitches.

Many bloggers and journalists attest to the fact that the success of a pitch is based on other factors that include the level of knowledge the PR contract has of past work and their understanding of the interests or the target audience. The chances of your articles getting approved and published also depends on the details you issue regarding the event, product, or story you wish to pursue. 

Let Them Know You Are an Expert

Be consistent when sending emails; do it every three months and show that you are an expert in your area of journalism and are available for interviews. It will help you gain recognition or even get quoted as an authority in your field. The publication editors at times save the emails for future reference when they need a source. 

Find Out What They Read

Once you are sure about your goal, the next move is to pick your target audience and know what they like to read, listen to, and watch. It will help you achieve some specificity (your niche) so that you pick the suitable programs or publications for your article. 

If you are not sure of the approach to use when trying to find out the interests of your target audience, just ask them. You can do this using a questionnaire or a survey that you can post online using resources such as Google Forms. You can aim to sample 10 – 50 people that fit your target audience. You then can use their response to determine with publication will be the most suitable partners.

Is Your Story Newsworthy?

Always try and step into the editor’s shoes before approaching them with your story. Ask yourself if you would bother reading the article if you worked for the publishing company. While your story may be interesting for the press to write, it must appeal to a vast demographic. Take the example of the national tabloids.

Investing in new equipment, hiring new staff members, or even moving offices, may not be newsworthy, such things are part of the operations and running of all businesses. Therefore, you should focus on providing diverse, opinionated, helpful, and entertaining information that can be viewed as newsworthy.

 Seek To Add Value

As a journalist and PR professional, do not be keen on fishing for stories; also, strive to provide value in your article. Let us be a resource. Take an active role in the stories you want your reporters to create. Give them references for the topics or subjects they are to investigate; that then means you need to provide them with additional resources that will help them come up with compelling and captivating stories.

Help them put the pieces together so that they can come up with an excellent article. They will see you as a valuable resource, and this will help gain recognition from the publishers and can aid in establishing a genuine and reliable partnership with them.

Read, Like And Share Content

With a growing list of publishers, you now can focus on establishing a lasting relationship with them. The approach for this should not be one that involves spamming them with your stories or stalking them with routine mentions.

You should take some time to go over their content, reading what they write and share online. You can take around 30 minutes in your day’s schedule o read what other journalists in the publications have written, and follow what they have shared online. While at it, also consider options such as liking, commenting, and sharing their content. It will help you establish an association with other journalists and publishers.

If you opt to retweet a post from other journalists, then understand that is may go unnoticed if it is retweeted hundreds of times by others. Therefore, you can have it stand out from the other retweets by adding a comment in your retweet. Comment using a unique angle, include hashtags related to the topic or subject and attach the journalist’s twitter handle. 

While at it, try to identify conversations that you can join or spark up such discussions by asking questions that you expect the Twitter community to respond to giving their ideas and opinions. The different talks that you will be a part of can make you be seen as a valid resource and a unique voice in the community.

Become A Regular Source

Getting featured in the daily newspaper and other tabloids is a great achievement, but it is better if you get featured regularly.  It is an objective that can help establish you as an expert and reliable source for informative, opinioned, and various articles. Such an achievement will lessen the burden of contacting people and going all-out when pitching your stories; the publishers will call you.

For instance, the local television states that keep seeing your name on the newspapers and magazines probably will consider you as a viable source of the news and stories they need to air. As you become a regular guest on the small TV stations, the bigger TV networks will spot you and call you for interviews. in the same instance, conference planners will see you and consider to invite you as a keynote speaker; and the cycle goes on and on.

 Strive to be reliable and do your best to come across as a friendly journalist that is knowledgeable and his or her niche and create reader-focused content. It will play a vital role in you gaining recognition as an expert in your field, and this can see reporters and publishers calling you from time to time. Also, consider registering as an expert journalist on different online sites such as Media Kitty, HARO, and ProfNet.

Talk Less And Avoid Telling Tall Tales

Do your best to tame your talk, especially on the first date. Do not let your nerves get the better of you, and take note of others in the meeting so that you can allow them to get a word in. It is a tactic that not only applies to your speech, but also the emails you send that posts your share. Curate content that is short, concise, and sweet.

If you are giving information regarding your services or a product, then avoid angling for the superlatives or giving dramatic descriptions. Keep your pitch simple; let it have no more than 200 words. Keep in mind that the goal of your first date is to capture the interests of your target audience.

As you pull all stops to make a lasting impression, also try to showcase your own importance. Remember that any publication that will accept to cover your story will do some background checks to substantiate your reputation before they put their name on your article. Avoid giving false statements. The lies you will have in your pitch will ultimately come to light. As such, stick to the truth if you want to establish a real and lasting relationship with other journalists and publishers.


Below are a few tips that some of the large brands use; they also work for the smaller and upcoming businesses.

  • Settle for trending news that is being covered by many of the media outlets. It can be about sports, government notice, or some controversial topic.
  • Ensure the news can be associated with your knowledge and business; let this guide you on what they write.
  • Send the new story to the relevant media outlets. 

To find this a bit easy to implement, target the media outlets that cover major news incidentally. For example, you can be focusing on business lessons from the Kardashians; thus, you cannot get such information for People Magazine. You can find such ideas from Forbes Magazine instead.

Newsjacking works spectacularly but isn’t always possible to pull off. If that’s the case, this next strategy offers an evergreen solution.

  • It aligned with a trending topic or issue.
  • It covered something that FastCompany has covered – focus on business.

From the interest that FastCompany showed for the article, Taylor’s website has a surge of traffic that grew by 200% ad a conversion rate increase of nearly 300%.

Newsjacking may be a viable option that works spectacularly, but it may not be easy to pull-off. In that case, you may consider the following:

Avoid using your phone number and email addresses for pitches. Keep your work emails separate from the personal address so that you can get work-related emails and messages from your friends, family, and colleagues for the other email address. Similarly, handle the phone number that same way.

In the same spirit to do not contact the publishers and reporters using their private phone number or emails if they expressly request that you sign-in to get information and updates from them.

All of these things should help you get the attention of journalists and in doing so grow your business the right way.


Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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