As a PR professional, I am always looking for ways to refine my skills and build relationships with the media. A colleague of mine recently shared the article How to Pitch Lifestyle Editors from that featured responses from five lifestyle editors who discussed how they like to be pitched. While I reviewed each panelist’s response, it made me reflect on what I’ve learned over the past few years by working with media locally in New England and across the United States.

Anyone can pitch a story to an editor or journalist. Newspapers, magazines, radio stations, TV stations and online sites are constantly looking for interesting stories to tell.  However, reporters and editors are professionals. Before making a pitch I have to remind myself that is it not their job to publicize our clients here at EVR —it’s to inform and entertain their audience. Therefore, my job is to make editors and reporters lives easier by pitching a story that serves their needs and will ultimately be something their readers and viewers will be interested in.

Before you create your own pitch, here are a few quick tips to consider.

1. Know your story and find a hook. Every business is unique in some way and whatever sets yours apart is your story. Find two or three key points in that story and rehearse it before making your pitch.

2. Target your pitch. Create a contact list for all the media outlets in your area. You may also want to look at business and trade publications that relate to your organization. Once you have your list, think about if your story would fit into each publication and where. Is it the business section in a local newspaper or the community, sports or wine and food sections?  Then, tailor your pitch to the appropriate editor or reporter

3. Keep it short and concise. Most editors are flooded with emails and pitches. Therefore, get right to the point. Pitches can be as simple as “Hey, I have a story idea – what do you think?

4. Follow-up with more detailed information. Thank your contact for their time and tell them you’ll send a press release with more information for review at their convenience. Also, provide a picture that will give the editor or reporter a visual of what the story is about.

EVR recently assisted LaBelle Winery with PR efforts surrounding the grand opening of their 11-acre winery, retail and event facility on the former site of Bragdon Farm on Route 101 in Amherst, NH. LaBelle Winery will be increasing its winemaking production from 18,000 to ultimately 60,000 gallons per year, as they expand distribution beyond New England. The Winery also features a full service retail space, tasting room, light bites terrace and event center that will offer a wine experience unique to New England.

After meeting with LaBelle and learning about their story, we realized that the opening of the new winery would appeal to local media outlets in addition to business, tourist and trade publications. Before we pitched these media outlets, we edited our hook slightly to make LaBelle’s story interesting to each editor and reporter. Once we made our pitch, we followed up with a more detailed press release, media fact sheet and rendering of LaBelle Winery, since the facility was still under construction, to give editors and reporters a visual. Our efforts yielded stories in media outlets across New Hampshire including WMUR’s Chronicle, WMUR Cook’s Corner, the Union Leader, Hippo, Nashua Telegraph and Amherst Citizen.

Photo credit, Allan Parke, Flickr