How to time your pitch

When you are pitching a story to the media, timing is everything.  

While you might have a compelling yarn to tell, your press release may not even be read if you don’t hit send at the right time.  

Journalists, like most of us, are busy. But there are times when they are so flat out that they don’t have time to pick up the phone or read their emails.  

Time your pitch well and your story could get a great run at the front of the paper, in multiple publications, or some decent airtime. Time your pitch poorly and your story probably won’t get picked up at all. 

Check deadlines 

When it comes to timing your pitch, it’s essential to consider what deadlines the journalist needs to meet. If they are a broadcast journalist, you don’t want to call or email them in the hours before a news bulletin. If they are a newspaper journalist, it’s best not to contact them when their press deadline is approaching. Another question to ask yourself is how your pitch fits in with a journalist’s deadlines. Many plan their publications months ahead. Those working on quarterly publications, for instance, are likely to want most of their copy finalised weeks before publication. 

Why do you need to tell your story now?  

While considering news deadlines, it’s important not to forget your own deadlines. An important question to ask yourself is at what time would you prefer your story to be published or broadcast? If you are promoting an event, for example, you will need the story out there a reasonable time before it happens to help with getting more people through the gates. If it is a story with a photo or vision opportunity, then you will want to provide enough notice for the media to organise a photographer or camera operator to get there.  

What in the world is happening?  

Before you fire off a press release on email, it’s a good idea to pick up a newspaper, scroll some news sites, or turn on a television.  

Is the stock market crashing? Has an election just been called? Is there a terrorist attack unfolding? It’s never a good idea to send a press release during a major breaking news event as there’s every chance it will get lost.  

Consider ‘currency’  

Does your story somehow relate to a topic that’s already in the media spotlight? Stories that have a connection to a topic already gaining a lot of coverage are more likely to be deemed newsworthy.  

You only have to look at what is trending on social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, to see what is capturing the public’s interest. Do you have a story to tell that relates to a trending topic? As the old saying goes, it’s good to strike while the iron is hot. 

A PR agency can help you pitch your story at exactly the right time. Bespoken has former journalists with strong media contacts, so if you want to remove the guesswork then get in touch with the people who know media and deadlines here

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