What Makes an Effective Pitch (And It’s Not What You Think.)

Gaye Carleton/July 16, 2019/PR

Crafting an effective media pitch involves storytelling, but in an abbreviated way and always with the all-important strategic hole.

Once you’ve determined what and to whom you will be pitching, along with identifying the critical timeliness component, and you’ve subsequently run it through the “why this, why now?” test to prove its newsworthiness, it’s time to start telling the story. But wait… Never tell the whole story.

The most effective media pitches are positioned to establish a level of intrigue that compels the journalist or producer to pause, consider and then utter those magical words you long to hear: “I’m interested. Tell me more.”

Strategic holes are tricky things and take practice. Tell too much and the story is boring. Don’t tell enough and no one knows what the hell you’re talking about. But omit just the right piece and you’re in.

For me, the spider web photo up top is a visual representation of an effective story with a captivating hole in it, literally.

The spider web is so perfectly imperfect that it grabs my full attention (not an easy feat), stops me in my tracks and compels me, like a crime scene might, to contemplate, “What happened here?” Did an unsuspecting insect get trapped and become the spider’s dinner? Was it a fly or a bee? When did it happen? Will the spider ultimately repair the hole?

Or maybe it was caused by something more nefarious than nature. Did some curious young offender poke a finger into this masterpiece of silk for the fun of it? What’s the whole story? I need to know more.

Create a pitch that prompts the media to pause and ponder because of what it doesn’t say, and it will be the takeaway a journalist won’t want to leave behind.