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Tips for Pitching to the Media

By June 14, 2018July 22nd, 2020Public Relations

In business, there’re amazing, good, bad and terrible product and service pitches. We’re here to show you how you can learn from the best pitches so you can seal the deal with an excellent media placement.

The best pitches are simple: they tell a unique story or add a new twist to a familiar one. For a pitch–or a product itself–to be successful it has to offer something a little new or different. The examples below will highlight key strategies to keep in mind when pitching to the media:

Sell me this pen.

One of the most famous pitch examples in Wolf of Wall Street is when Jordan Belfort got one of his employees to sell a pen to him at a restaurant. The employee asked, “Can you do me a favor, can you write your name down on the napkin for me?” Belfort replied, “I don’t have a pen.” Then the employee says, “Exactly, supply and demand my friend.” This scene is an example of creating a need and sense of urgency before you can persuade the person that your company deserves a placement. In this case, the pen itself is not new or exciting; it’s the angle of the presentation that grabs the attention. “The pen may be a simple item, but if you need one and don’t have it, it’s a problem.”  Of course, it’s easier to pitch these kinds of out-of-the-box ideas to people who know you, so start by building a relationship with the publication you’re interested in and take it from there.

Choose your publications wisely.

Despite what people may think, it doesn’t take a Shark Tank deal to make it big. There’re a few companies on Shark Tank that turned down a big offer but are still doing incredibly well. A famous example is the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. The app, geared toward women, aims to find one quality match for users each day using Facebook connections. If the users match, the app offers them a discount to use on their date. One of the sharks wanted to buy the entire company for $30 million, but the founders didn’t want to walk away from their company. After gaining such broad exposure, it now has almost $18 million in funding. The lesson we can learn from this is to be picky with publications. Narrow your search and choose the publications that are a good fit for your company, not just because they’re large or prominent. Specifically, it’s important to consider if your target readers match the publication’s readership.

Your story is boring until proven otherwise.

Drift, a web-based, live chat tool for salespeople and marketers, currently services over 100K businesses and has raised $32 million in venture capital. At OpenView’s conference in Boston this past October, Drift’s director of marketing transformed the company into something more of a movement. He was strategic and geared his narrative toward his audience by talking about an ongoing market shift and putting his prospects on a journey. Rather than just sticking this his product’s features, he made an authentic connection with the audience that related to how to grow their businesses.

From this example, think about your angle. Why should the editor care? It’s not about whether your company’s story is interesting to you or your team, it’s about if it’s attractive to the publication. Write about what you know and pitch something that meets the needs of your audience.


Be timely and straightforward.

Smyte is a company that aims at bring Facebook’s trust and safety features to a broader audience. They’re capitalizing on being extraordinarily relevant and piggybacking on the data privacy lawsuit Facebook is currently facing. Smyte is an example of a company is that seizing on an opportunity by writing about topics in the public’s consciousness that are relevant to its brand message.You should research the journalist you’re pitching to and see what they’ve covered in the recent past, so you don’t repeat it–reporters are always looking for a fresh angle. After you come up with your story, the next step is to get to the point about why the reader will care. If you can’t explain why your story matters in a few short sentences, it’s a problem.

In summary, creating a sense of urgency and pitching a story with a unique angle that’s timely and straightforward to the publication that’s right for your organization will set your company on the right track to getting that groundbreaking media placement that your team deserves.

Until next time!
Critical Mention
Jolie Shapiro Picture
Jolie Shapiro

Passionate about all things communications, Jolie found her dream job as a copywriter with Critical Mention, where she’s continuing her passion for writing and editing. With a background working for high-profile clients in the financial, hospitality and technology industries, she’s excited to bring her experience to Critical Mention. When she’s not writing you can find her at music festivals, hiking or snowboarding.


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