Pitching The Media? Then Read This!

On Tuesday morning, I was seated in front of 10 startup founders (participants in the Canadian Consulate’s Tech Accelerator program) leading them through a 3-hour “media” workshop. The session is a whole lot of media “how to” and common sense plus insider knowledge, personal experience and “how I’ve done it”. Leaving the session, I glanced at my email to discover 3 pitches from startup founders in my inbox. Yes, the one time I should have checked email during a presentation as I’d have in-the-moment examples of how to light a journalist / blogger / freelance columnist’s hair on fire — or make their day.

’Cause here’s the deal: on the pitch success scale of 1–10, two were zeros and one was an eleven.

Here are the fails:

  1. I really like your articles and since you wrote about female founders, I think you’ll be interested in this story idea! I’m a former X turned tech entrepreneur and I have an app. Interested in a story?
  2. An industry veteran and I teaming up to launch a new project. Worth covering?

The failing email senders were both sent this link. It’s a post of mine on Inc.com “The Good, Ignored And Unprintable: A Guide For Entrepreneurs Pitching The Media” which lays out HOW to pitch a story to the media (print, radio, TV, digital). As I note in the post that you exist / launched / transitioned is not a story! Just because I wrote about a female founder last week is not a compelling pitch to result in a story this week.

What’s the story? Here’s my suggestion on getting your media pitch ready before you hit send on that email:

  1. Read “The Good, Ignored And Unprintable: A Guide For Entrepreneurs Pitching The Media”
  2. Read the previous stories the writer / blogger / journalist has written — then come up with a compelling fresh angle (rather than simply sending a “I’m doing that too” pitch).
  3. Draft a few pitches. Rip them up and draft again. Show them to a friend and ask what story pitch they’d read, share and recommend.

The pitch that was an eleven? It resulted in this post on Inc.com.