6 Ways to Pitch Media Outlets Without Looking Like a Jerkface

Here’s a look at 6 key things I’ve learned after successfully pitching my own company for guest blogs, podcast interviews and web shows.


Photo: Ashley Williams, Health Coach and Founder of Greenlight Holistic Healing; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Ashley Williams, Health Coach and Founder of Greenlight Holistic Healing; Source: Courtesy Photo

This Fall I launched a podcast, Green Is the New Black, for millennial women interested in taking a more holistic and cruelty-free approach to healthy living. And yes, it’s as fun as it sounds!

Within 36 hours of launch my show became one of the top health podcasts on iTunes, which meant I no longer had to go on the prowl for remarkable guests to interview.

At first I posted calls for guests (here and there) and received an influx of pitches from health coaches, wellness practitioners and eco-conscious businesses wanting to be featured on the podcast. This made filling the show schedule easy, but the terrible nature of some of the pitches received (and general bad behavior throughout the process) literally made my soul hurt.

If you’re just starting or growing a business, then press opportunities including featured interviews, guest blogs, YouTube interviews and podcasts are a brilliant way to grow your audience reach and increase brand credibility. But here’s the catch: you might be going about the pitch process all wrong.

Here’s a look at 6 key things I’ve learned after successfully pitching my own company for guest blogs, podcast interviews and web shows; combined with some horror stories I’ve seen in my short time as a podcast host.

 

  1. Actually listen to, read, or watch whatever it is you’re pitching to – before pitching.

    Don’t just browse Google page view stats or iTunes ‘New & Noteworthy’ and pick platforms with the highest reach. You should have an idea of the style, tone, and voice of a particular media outlet, know their audience what topics they’ve already covered. If you can’t be bothered to do these things, as a podcast host, I can’t be bothered to interview you.

  2. Understand the person interviewing and featuring your business is doing you a favor.

    Sure. Media platforms need content, but there are a lot more people in your industry that need free press than there are podcasts, reputable business magazines, and leading industry blogs. The truth is … you are replaceable. Be polite. Don’t cancel or be difficult with scheduling. Show your appreciation by sharing links to your featured content when it’s live.

  3. Follow procedures the media outlet has put in place.

    This means if there is a standard form to use for pitching, then don’t just send a big-long email instead. Use the form. For the love of all that is holy – use the form! If the platform has no pitching guidelines assume two things: a) they are a hot mess of disorganization; or b) they do not have a lot of experience receiving pitches and do not have systems in place to makes everyone’s lives easier.

  4. Don’t do business on Facebook.

    If you see a call to pitch in blog comments or in a Facebook group that says something like “Looking for interviewees – use this link to pitch” or email the Editor …” follow those steps. Don’t leave a link to your website—or better yet your email—for them to contact you! See rule #2 for a detailed explanation. Don’t make any media professional spend time they don’t have looking at your company website and then writing you an email. The person who follows directions will get picked over the person that doesn’t, every single time.

  5. Keep pitches short!

    There are tons of resources out there on how to write a pitch. But here’s a spoiler: Keep it short and sweet! Key details of what you do (i.e., not your life story, business message or wildest hopes and dreams) and information on the topic you want to discuss. Your topic should be clearly communicated in a few sentences. Not one to five long paragraphs. Include a brief bio and links to your social media accounts. Also – if there is a request for your site traffic or list stats—don’t lie. It’s obvious.

  6. Follow-up, but not like a crazy person.

    Be consistent over time and conduct your follow-ups at least one week apart. Don’t add a media contact on Facebook and then send private messages. Don’t tweet a journalist to make sure he or she saw your email and your Facebook message. It makes you look desperate – like a stalker.

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The key takeaway is this: Act like a well-socialized, sane human being that knows how to get to the point! Be nice. Say please and thank you. And while being professional is crucial, remember the key to any networking or business relationship is to make friends. Start there and you’ll be on your way to getting more press than you can handle.

 

This article has been edited and condensed.

Ashley Williams is a health coach, business mastermind whip-cracker, vegan lifestyle expert and political activist that works with people who are ready for laser-focused coaching to create the health or business of their dreams. Her super power is #ashkicking anyone that’s full of crap. Featured on iTunes ‘New & Noteworthy’ in the first 36 hours after debut her podcast, Green Is the New Black, introduces listeners to a more holistic and conscious lifestyle. Connect with @GreenLgtHealing on Twitter.

 

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