On August 7th, we hosted our “Pitch Perfect” event at AQUA at the Providence Marriott Hotel. Kimberly Fraser, our fearless Chapter President, led an informal Q&A session with local media professionals sharing their backgrounds and advice on the “do’s” and “don’ts” of pitching.
The night welcomed five presenters:
- Scott MacKay – Political Analyst, Rhode Island Public Radio
- Kate Nagle – News Editor, GoLocalProv
- Tracy Slater and Brooke Rainville – Social Media Manager and Community Outreach, Providence Moms Blog
- Elyse Major – Editor in Chief, Providence Media
- Whitman Littlefield, Social Media and Innovation Editor, Providence Journal
- It’s all about relationships – strongly emphasized by Scott MacKay, all presenters agreed that building relationships with reporters is key to knowing how each of them likes to be pitched and what their core interested are.
- There are no “golden rules” of pitching – all five of the speakers preferred to receive their pitches in different ways. The better you know individual preferences, the better your chances of success (see above “relationships”).
- Photos or no photos? – Elyse Major shared that she is a visual thinker and likes to write stories when she can picture it told through a photograph. While Whitman Littlefield relayed that the Providence Journal endeavors to take its own photos whenever possible. Overall, it was agreed that photos can help sell your pitch, even if they are not used in the end.
- And what about attachments? – no surprise here with some yes, some no. Kate Nagle suggested the most popular compromise, which was to provide your press release in the body of your email and also as an attachment. This way, the reporter can opt for whichever approach is best for them.
- Phone or email? – in an increasingly digital world and extremely tight deadlines, all reporters except for Scott MacKay preferred emails. (Note: you can still email your pitch to Scott, just expect he will likely be calling, not emailing, you back!)
- Know your audience – as Tracy Slater and Brooke Rainville reminded us, always know the target audience of the reporter/media professional you are pitching; and make sure your topic fits with the reporter’s area of expertise and the nature of the publication as a whole.
Special thanks to our attendees, presenters, and AQUA for hosting us!