4 Best Practices When Pitching Energy Journalists

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At times, pitching reporters can feel like cold calling – a relentless, time-consuming practice that sometimes yields little results. Though, it is important to remember that media outreach, when done properly, provides value to journalists, their publication and its readers.

Building working relationships with journalists is a fundamental part of media relations and is crucial for getting your news out there. Here are four best practices to remember when pitching energy journalists:

1. Consider the Journalist

Before pitching a reporter, take time to consider how your client’s news is relevant to the journalist and their publication. According to Cision, 63% of media said their reliance on public relations professionals has not changed in 2017. Be sure to recognize who their audience members are, what they may want to hear and learn more about. Explain how the news provides value and is pertinent to the publication’s readers in your pitch – here it helps if you know their beat and the publication’s editorial calendar. Examine the needs of this reporter and how this news potentially helps educate and inform their readers, how it’s a topic they cover and is timely.

Ask yourself what do they care about? Can you help them develop an angle that’ll set them apart from others covering a similar story? These questions and more are important to consider in building a working relationship with the reporter and positioning your client with the journalist. Invest time talking and learning their business and the people in it. And prove you understand their beat – and if you don’t, ask questions to show that you want to.

2. The News: What exactly are we sharing?

State exactly what you want from the publication and journalist and carefully plan what you can offer them to deliver within their deadlines and needs. Provide facts of the news, links to related resources and be clear on what you’re offering to the reporter. Distinguish between a product launch, contract announcement, project milestone, new hire, etc. in order to be clear and straightforward on exactly what this news is and is not. Resist the urge to be ambiguous or make the news seem like more than it is.

Give the who, what, when, where, why and how up front and let them know what photos or videos are available. Use your creativity to suggest great ideas for graphs of data, infographics, etc. that could illustrate the news. Also, every pitch needs to clearly disclose what client the news pertains to.

3. Approaching the Journalist

With pitching energy journalists, always know the best and fastest ways to reach each publication – and keep full contact information on-hand including emails, phone numbers, social media handles and websites. Keep at it and use several methods if one doesn’t gain a reply. Reporters know what it means to pursue a story doggedly. When you’ve done your homework to know what they’re looking for and you can provide a story for their upcoming edition – they tend to appreciate your efforts.

You can help ensure the accuracy of stories on relatively complex subjects by providing access to subject matter experts as well as to websites and resources. Also, you can save reporters hours of digging for resources and get them greater access to people, places and events where they can pursue news and information.

Our advice is that if you receive a “no” from a reporter, accept it without argument. Learn from any feedback and if someone isn’t interested in a topic or changes beats – adjust accordingly.

4. Beyond the Pitch

Don’t always play tit for tat. Sometimes, it’s best to send journalists tips or resources that support their work without asking them to write anything. Share news tips and compliments sincerely and freely. If you can, introduce them to others you know and respect in the industry to help their careers. Stay in contact if they move to other publications, change roles or go freelance.

As media experts for your clients, it’s crucial to know how to communicate with journalists so they can get their stories out effectively and timely. Become familiar with journalists and their publications – so they become more than a name on a list – and you can build on the mutual relationship to help increase the success of both parties.

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