The word “pitching” always made me think of episodes of the Apprentice. Watching nervous hopefuls talking endlessly about how their ideas are the best, trying to persuade everyone and anyone that not choosing their pitch would be a terrible mistake. This wasn’t far off to my reality but instead of Alan Sugar I was pitching stories to Journalists. Which is a scarier prospect? It’s hard to choose.

It’s a long shot, sending an email to someone you’ve never met asking them to feature your story in their publication. Why would they give you the opportunity? Why not? Starting out, I thought how hard could this be, it turns out it was a lot harder than first expected.

As a Journalist I can only imagine how hectic their day to day activities are. Constant emails and calls from eager companies and agencies trying to get their latest products mentioned in an article, or trying to gain coverage to promote the new CMO who’s going to change the face of their company. These certain types of stories can make for a good read but what would make you pick one story over the hundreds of others you’ve received in your inbox? Understanding this is a vital point for anyone trying to achieve a successful pitch.

After several failed attempts of trying to reach out to key journalists, with a few resulting in the phone being slammed down on me, I thought I would revaluate my tactics.

While you can’t always get the opportunity to have previously met or spoken with the journalist beforehand, if you have then you need to take advantage of this when reaching out. Everyone likes to know who they are talking too and adding personal touches make you stand out from the other generic meaningless emails and calls journalists receive on a constant basis.

A key component to any successful pitch is simplicity! Why over complicate when you can simplify? Get to the point, be precise about what you are pitching and be honest. Journalists do appreciate honesty and it is important to show that you have tried to help them by giving them all the information they need without the added 4 extra paragraphs of nonsense.

However, if you decide to pitch, I would recommend to avoid BUZZWORDS. Your article is not “revolutionary” or “disruptive”, and editors are most likely to switch off after reading generic buzzwords they have heard so many times before, and are generally irrelevant to what you are pitching. Try to avoid at all cost, for examples of the most overused terms click here.