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500 Writers & Editors Reveal What They Look for in a Pitch

Posted by Media Relations on Thursday, July 10th, 2014 - Comments »

Pitching Journalists

If you’ve ever wondered what reporters and journalists look for in a pitch, here’s a very useful presentation from BuzzStream based on a survey of over 500 writers and editors.

Some of the key survey takeaways on how to be more effective pitching  journalists and editors:

Although most writers publish one story per day, 44% of them get pitched a minimum of twenty times per day.

70% of publishers prefer pitches that involve collaboration versus a finished asset.

The types of content journalists desire most in a pitch:

  • 19% articles
  • 13% infographics
  • 12% mixed media pieces
  • 11% data visualizations
  • 11% images
  • 11% videos
  • 7% interactive maps
  • 5% press releases
  • 5% interactive projects
  • 4% quizzes
  • 1% flipbooks

64% of journalists say it’s at least moderately important to establish a personal connection before pitching

81% of journalists prefer to be pitched via email, 69% in the morning

88%% of writers prefer a pitch to be 200 words or less

85% of writers open an email based on the subject line Format for the perfect pitch subject line:

Direct, Concise, Descriptive, Keywords related to writer’s beat

Top Tips from 500 journalists on how to pitch more effectively:

  • Do your research
  • Know the publication
  • Be relevant
  • Make it newsworthy
  • Know my beat
  • Don’t use all caps
  • Be personal
  • Be concise
  • Don’t cold call
  • Does it fit my beat?
  • Use spellcheck
  • No giant attachments
  • Don’t pitch on social media
  • Know my audience
  • Avoid phony friendliness
  • Get my name right
  • Avoid the fluff
  • Tailor your subject lines

Here are the full results of the survey presentation:

What are approach has worked best for you when pitching?

Hopefully you’re not still doing the “spray and pray” using interns and a database of journalists from a PR software company (Vocus, Cision, etc). Who knows how up to date those contacts are? Follow the advice in this presentation – it comes from the source!

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