If you’ve ever sent me a media pitch to review, you’ve seen these words: cut it in half.
It might be surprising coming from me, the person who couldn’t make a long story short if her life depended on it, but when it comes to pitches I’m all about making the biggest impact with the fewest words.
The next time you’re ready to shoot off an email to one of your media contacts, consider these tips to keep your pitch lean and mean:
Keep it short, but pack a punch. No, that’s not a shout out for my fellow 5’4′ ladies. O.K., maybe it is. Media have hundreds of email that flood their inboxes daily. If the first few sentences of your pitch don’t compel them to keep reading or move to action (send a TV crew to your event, consider an interview, etc.), you need to scrap your pitch and start over.
Put your self in their shoes. Think: Why should they care? What does it offer their audience? For example, if you’re pitching a TV news producer or assignment desk, your pitch needs to be visual, relevant for their audience and (if it’s on location) worth their time and resources to send a news crew out. For TV: always sell your visuals (there will be children, elected officials, furry kittens, celebrities, shiny disco balls . . . be specific).
Edit. Then edit again. It’s amazing how much fat you can trim by taking second/third look at your pitch. If it’s not 100% critical for media to know right then, send more info later after you already have them hooked. If you overload it with more detail than absolutely necessary to spark their interest, you’ll lose them on your second paragraph (in your way-too-wordy six paragraph pitch).
Tip: Read it out loud. If the person you’re pitching won’t know what’s happening and why they should care in the first minute: edit.