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How to pitch to business journalists

Britain has a rich tapestry of media outlets catering specifically to a business audience. In addition to the business pages in the likes of the FT, Times, Telegraph, Standard and City A.M. there are a whole host of dedicated business magazines and websites all keen to share interesting success stories and advice with their audience.

It's essential to understand what journalists need.

It’s essential to understand what journalists need

Many companies when starting out choose to do their own PR in a bid to drum up some media interest. We deal with the business press (both national and specific) on a daily basis and hear the same answers time and again when we ask what they want from PRs.

With this in mind here are a few key tips on what business journalists are looking for, in order to maximise the chance of a piece being used:

  • Be thorough – It sounds so simple but know who you’re pitching to and what they’re writing about. If someone focuses on green businesses and you’re sending a release about a new runway the delete button will be hit faster than you can say ‘bad pitch’
  • Be selective – Journalists are busy and simply don’t have enough time to sift through a mass of information on a business. Be selective in which information you choose to put forward – top detail first followed by a couple of supporting points is a good way to give them a flavour without bombarding them
  • Be honest – Company owners love to talk about their business and quite frankly if they didn’t they would be in the wrong business. However, it is important to realise that what is interesting to you is not always of interest to journalists. Be honest with yourself when selecting your key points and ask, “Does this pass the ‘so what’ test?”
  • Have stats on hand – Telling someone your business is great is the same as a waiter telling you everything on the menu is great. With journalists more pressed for time than ever before you have to tell them immediately why you are great, supporting this with impressive figures. If you say sales are growing say by how much or what per cent, talk about staff growth, turnover figures, future projections etc.
  • Be open – If a journalist responds with more questions don’t shut down. They clearly want to explore making the story fit and you need to work with them to make that happen. Many have hundreds of emails a day pitching ideas so be happy you’re over the first hurdle and give your all to make the story stick.
  • Provide pictures – Again due to time and budget constraints many publications simply can’t send a photographer out for every story they do. Invest in a high quality creative shoot and show the journalist in your pitch that you have images to support the story. This fills more space on the page for them (making their job easier) and makes their magazine and or website look better. It’s a win win.

If you’ve tried the above and are having no luck then why not speak to PHA’s E&B team? We deal with these journalists every day and are confident we will find a way to generate some powerful coverage in Britain’s top business titles.

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