Tips to Give Your Best Media Pitch in Under 45 Seconds from the NABJ Convention

by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago
Media pitching is indeed an art form.  Vying for the attention of busy journalists who must fill news holes with limited resources requires precision.  PR practitioners and freelancers had less than a minute to pitch a panel of top editors and reporters from leading national news outlets during the “Pitch Me with Your Best Shot” workshop at this year’s recent National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) convention in Philadelphia.

ABC Good Morning America, The Huffington Post, People and Essence Magazine staff were all part of the panel.  American Idol style, they critiqued those who seized the opportunity to stand in-front of more than 75 workshop attendees which included PR pros and journalists and deliver their impromptu 45-second pitch.

Here are a few practical tips you can use to cut out the fluff when you craft your next pitch.

Trymaine Lee, senior reporter at The Huffington Post, Catherine “Cat” McKenzie, senior producer at ABC’s Good Morning America, Tatsha Robertson, senior editor at People and Bob Meadows, deputy editor at Essence take questions at NABJ annual conference

Have a tie-in and know your media – 45 seconds is fast. Lead with the specific area related to your pitch: What segment would it fall under, what monthly column focuses on your topic or what time of the year is best for your story (ex. Black History Month)?  Show those you’re pitching you follow their media outlet and understand their audience and what they are seeking.  Don’t pitch the producers of The Wendy Williams Show your awesome chef and cookbook.  They don’t do cooking segments.

Embrace the nerd in us and give statistics.  Everyone’s got a little nerd in them.  Statistics can help sell a story.  Journalists want to feel like they’ve taught the audience something new.

Numbers are great but people are better.  Can you provide the reporter or producer access to someone impacted by your organization, get them an interview with the founder of the non-profit or offer a celebrity who has close ties to your issue?  Be sure to let them know if  they can be available immediately.

Show a little passion.  Enthusiasm can be faked but it’s no substitute for passion.  Passion infects and when combined with authenticity, it shows.  One of the publicists in attendance pitched a story on the number of missing and abused African-American women and children who get only minimal news coverage everyday. Her pitch evoked a standing ovation from the crowd and nearly brought members of the panel to tears–probably not her goal, but impressive nonetheless.  Passion moves people to take action.  When you’re crafting your pitch don’t cut out the passion.

Raschanda Hall

9 Responses to Tips to Give Your Best Media Pitch in Under 45 Seconds from the NABJ Convention

  1. Drewry says:

    this is a great post about giving your best media pitch. I have to admit from time to time I need to brush up and learning from others on “mastering the art in pitching best media”, because I’m humble enough to say I’m still a student of life and learning how to make the best of the Internet as well as having others show me the right way to do things 🙂

    • Thanks Drewry,
      I think we can all use a brush up every once in a while. Glad you were able to learn something from our post.

      • Drewry says:

        oh of course! I’m humbled by the wonderful blog posts Warren Buffett’s business wire always puts out. I learned so much every time 🙂


        I’m going to recommend this blog post to read today on DrewryNewsNetwork. After I create the post and include a link back to this blog, I’ll post it here as a blog comment. Thank you again so much, for keeping me positively inpired & going the extra mile, in my online business efforts 🙂

        With love!

      • Thanks again, Drewry for sharing with your network.

  2. D Weathersby says:

    The Wendy Williams Show DOES do cooking segments. To date, they’ve had several chefs (Cat Cora, Bobby Flay, etc.) on the show demonstrating different techniques with different meals.

    • Hi D Weathersby,
      As a faithful watcher of Wendy I too have seen a few cooking segments on the show, but her producer Anthony Harper was on hand at NABJ and shared the general rule with us. Its a producer’s prerogative to change their mind and the chefs you named would be hard to tell no. Thanks for reading and for keeping us honest.

  3. Drewry says:

    you’re welcome “RaschandaHall” . always happy to “be of service” in passing along useful information for others to feel empowered from! 🙂

  4. […] – Get to the point. Share your pitch in 30-45 seconds.  Want them to really knock it out the park? Make that pitch high and inside, just like I like […]

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