When it comes to pitching your story to a reporter, don’t- I repeat, don’t- send an attachment. There was a time when I thought a thorough – AKA lengthy – pitch and slew of attachments containing relevant information (press releases, headshots, fact sheets and source sheets) ensured that my story would get coverage.
This was a delusional time in my life where I must have thought I was some pitching super hero who could be heard shouting, “Fear not, desperate reporters who sit and twiddle your thumbs all day waiting for a story idea; read my four paragraph pitch and multiple three-page attachments and not only will you have wasted an hour of your day, you’ll have almost all the information you need to fill five minutes of airtime. – You’re welcome.”
The problem is the reporters weren’t grateful for my lengthy pitches and multiple attachments. In fact, they weren’t reading my pitch in its entirety or opening my attachments. How do I know this? They told me!
In 2013, I attended an Florida Public Relations Association event and during the Q-and-A session, a reporter who was giving tips on pitching began to rant about attachments and why he disliked them – all the while the other four reporters on the panel were nodding their head in approval. His reasons –although I had failed to consider them – were obvious:
1.) Reporters are short on time. They aren’t going to read a lengthy pitch in its entirety and they sure aren’t going to open an attachment. If you’ve got something to say, learn to say it with fewer words and without attachments.
2.) It’s inconvenient. Why? Because (and I’m surprised I didn’t think about this) many reporters check their email on mobile devices. Downloading an email on your phone while reporting from the field doesn’t always work, and can be just plain frustrating. And frustrating a reporter who you want to cover your business is never a good idea. Paste the info into the body of the email.
The reporter on the attachment rant also shared with his audience that because a lengthy pitch and multiple attachments was such a time suck, receiving them honestly felt inconsiderate.
So show reporters and journalists a little consideration, save yourself a lot of time, and abstain from lengthy pitches and attachments this year.