8 ways pitching a reporter is like dating

You wouldn’t go on a date with someone who doesn’t have the same interests as you, so why would you pitch a reporter with an irrelevant beat?

Dating is just like pitching a reporter. You have butterflies in your stomach, you sit by your phone and wait for the guy to respond, and analyze his responses. Is he really interested in your story, or is he just thinking about it?

As experts in both the dating and the pitching world, we wanted to share our advice for securing a story or turning the first date into many more.

1. Have mutual interests. Jenny once went on a date with a guy who didn’t like puppies. It was her first and last date with him. Keep this in mind when you pitch a reporter. If your story is about medical research, don’t pitch someone who only covers style.

2. Do your research. Did you know 43 percent of people Google their date before they meet them? Although you would never admit to it, you can’t help yourself from doing a quick Facebook or Google search on a guy. You should always do this before you pitch a reporter so you can find out what his latest beat is, what he writes about, and how you can pique his interest.

3. Make it timely. You shouldn’t try to schedule a date for Friday night at 5 p.m. that day. The same goes for pitching. Reporters won’t be interested in your pitch if you call them as they walk out the door for the weekend. They will respond with silence or a flat out “no.”

4. Don’t overshare. On their first date, a guy told Frannie he was on a mission to find a wife. Just like a first date, you never want to overwhelm a reporter when you start to speak—be short and to the point.

5. Be confident. HelloGiggles.com writer @ElizaHurwitz writes that you should give yourself a pep talk before you go on a first date to make yourself more confident. Reporters and men can always tell when you’re nervous. If you’re nervous, they might lose interest.

6. Don’t overwhelm. Don’t expect a quick response if you send someone multiple texts and phone calls-if you get one at all. Don’t send a reporter five emails a day and follow up with three phone calls. No one wants a stalker. This is what gives PR pros a bad name.

7. Use proper grammar. When you send a text message, make sure you use proper grammar. Do not send the following text message to a girl/guy you are interested in: “R U busy 2nite?” Check for proper punctuation and spelling when you email a reporter, or he will likely disregard the email immediately. Or even worse, laugh at you with his friends, er, we mean colleagues.

8. Use your resources. If you have a good reputation with a reporter and he refers you to his colleagues, you’re more likely to have pitching success. The same is true for dating; the most successful dates are referrals from friends because they know what you’re interested in.

Getting a story on the front page of The New York Times is like going Facebook official. You finally secured the story and developed a relationship. Congrats!

Jenny Frank and Frannie Marmorstein are both assistant account executives at Spectrum, one of the nation’s leading health and science communications agencies. A version of this article first appeared on Spectrum’s blog.

Topics: PR


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