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Know the DRILL – how to pitch your story to the media

Clients – and colleagues – often ask me how I go about pitching ideas, talent and content to media organisations.

I am fortunate in that I have spent more than 20 years in newsrooms in Australia and the UK and I have a strong network of contacts and a detailed appreciation for how news outlets work, what types of stories are likely to gain traction and what deadlines are applicable to different organisations.

But I still go back to one basic premise every time I make a pitch: DRILL

Do you know?

What is your story? Why is it a story? What collateral do you have?

These might seem like simple questions but it’s amazing how many people don’t ask them.

Risk assessment

What’s the risk if the story runs? If it doesn’t? Could it go in an unintended direction? Is your client/talent prepared to face the media?

Initiate

Have you done your D&R? Assuming you’ve got client/talent approval, it’s now time to ask who you will pitch to, what time and how?

Liaise

Checking in with reporters requires some nuance but there is no point in sending out a pitch and not following up on it. Equally, you will want to liaise with your client/talent as they go through the interview process.

Learn

What went well? What didn’t? What would you do differently next time around?

Pitching is never a one-size-fits-all thing. Different clients/talent and different news outlets require different approaches.

But a basic framework will definitely enhance your chance of success.

Peter Klinger has more than 20 years’ experience in daily journalism and as Cannings Purple’s Director of Media Strategy devised communication strategies for $1 billion worth of corporate transactions involving ASX-listed companies. Contact Peter.

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