Terrific pitching tips from veteran business editors

One hit in a top industry news outlet can make your company. Here are three tips for breaking into their vaunted pages.

Coverage in a leading business publication can transform your company from an also-ran to a household name.

Here are three ways to turn a business journalist’s head and earn precious ink the next time you pitch a business or financial media outlet:

1. Play to a reporter’s ego. “The best way to get our attention is to show you’ve read our material,” says Matt Turner, deputy business editor at Business Insider. “This lets us know that you’ve done your research and [that] our work is appreciated.”

He also suggests referencing a past story in your email pitch. “Recent stories give you an opportunity to start the conversation,” he says, “especially if you’re offering an executive or someone to speak on a similar topic.”

Turner says a good subject line will read, “Your story on [insert topic or company]. The body of your email should then offer additional elements to move the story forward, including new data or sources.”

Register for PR Daily’s Sept. 29 webinar “Business Editors Pitch Fest: Test Your Pitch, Hear Hot Topics and Score More Ink” for pitching tips from top business editors.

2. Pitch ahead of the news curve. So says Mike Brown, an assignment editor at The Street, who prefers not to see pitches referencing past coverage.

“Instead, have foresight and pitch us events that are several weeks in the future,” he says. “I don’t want pitches following up on what I covered two days ago. I’d rather see something tied to the upcoming presidential election calendar or an upcoming quarterly shareholder meeting. Otherwise, it feels dated.”

Brown also wants PR professionals to make experts available quickly when big news breaks.

“We all want immediate access,” he says. “For example, I wanted lawyers, bank executives, analysts and investment bankers the moment this week’s Wells Fargo cross-selling scandal broke.”

3. Provide executives’ headshots. Most top business outlets won’t run third-party images or infographics, but most do need access to your executives’ portraits.

The problem? “No one seems to have a high-res photo of their executive that we can work with when we’re on deadline,” he says. “We often have to go into LinkedIn for a headshot, and those always look pixilated.”

Brown concedes that this is usually only a problem with private companies.

“The bottom line is that we need images on command,” he says. “Include them with every release you send out. An assignment editor might go looking for them in your online pressroom, but reporters working on the fly really need them in our inboxes.”

Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Samuel Ro, managing editor at Yahoo Finance; Michael Shane, global head of digital innovations at Bloomberg; Mike Brown, assignment editor at The Street; Matt Turner, deputy editor at Business Insider; and Alexander Kaufman, senior business editor at The Huffington Post will share more tips in PR University’s Sept. 29 webinar, “Business Editors Pitch Fest: Test Your Pitch, Hear Hot Topics and Score More Ink.”

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Topics: PR

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