Know the crucial aspects in media pitching, workshop told

By Puteri An Nur

GOMBAK, 30 October 2021: Knowing how and when to approach the right media, an ability to write a good proposal, learning to network and develop contacts, choosing an angle for a story, as well as identifying useful data, are some of the crucial aspects in successful media pitching, a workshop was told on Friday (29 October).

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IOli Communications, Mrs. Yan Lim stated that media pitching is a way of getting the attention of journalists, editors or the media outlets to show their interest in the issue, product or event to receive good coverage for the company or organisation in the media.

She was speaking at the “Pitching Skills Workshop: Upskilling Students’ Needs” jointly organised by the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia Student Association (IPRMSA) – IIUM Chapter and the Communication Student Association (COSA).

A total of 25 participants mainly third and final year students attended the workshop.

It was conducted with the objective to give the participants an idea about media pitching with the view to improve their media pitching skills as a preparation, especially for students going for internship attachment soon.

Yan Lim said, “Media coverage is a necessity. For instance, to provide media coverage for clients on their newly launched product or in some cases, to recover from a crisis that requires certain clarification to be made, or to reposition the image of the company.”

She stated that writing a good proposal is important in media pitching as it will be the deciding factor as to whether the story is going to be approved by the editors or not. Yan Lim shared some tips and tricks on how to write a good proposal to build the interest of the media.

Therefore, she said, having good relationship with the media is equally important, and this should be regarded as one of the key factors to a successful media pitch.

She stressed that it is crucial for the public relations practitioner to know the right contacts in the media. Hence, she said, the public relations practitioner must keep himself or herself updated with the kind of work and media coverage that the media, both print or online platforms, provide.

This is to ensure that they choose the right media outlet to propose a pitch based on their story.

Mrs. Yan also recommended to the participants who wish to become a public relations practitioner in the future to go through the digital media weekly to get themselves updated on the latest media contacts as this will help them to get to know the media better.

She reminded the participants on the importance of making things easy for the media to cover. This can be done by providing references such as useful data or statistics to support their story.

“It will make things easier for them and will likely result in an approved pitch by the media,” Mrs. Yan emphasised.

She further said that choosing an angle of the story is “the most viable working recipe for a successful pitch”.

“Choosing an angle here applies to the topic of choice which is then followed by approaching the right media which cover similar stories on the topic.

“If the topic is related to lifestyle choices, a proposal should be made to the media which covers lifestyle contents and stories.

“It is important to conduct a background check on the media by going through the kind of articles they cover, what kind of stories they prefer publishing and to know any other relevant components,” Mrs. Yan stated.

Yan reminded that when writing a pitch, a public relations practitioner must make sure that their pitch outshines other pitches.

Based on statistics shown by Mrs. Yan, journalists are outnumbered by public relations professionals by nearly 128 percent, which means that there are more than four public relations professionals to every journalist.

This means that the media receive a lot of pitches on a daily basis. As such, the media tend to be very selective.

Therefore, she said, it is important to understand the kind of work that the media do and the way to approach them so as to capture their attention.

Furthermore, she remarked, when it comes to pitching, a client who is willing to pay the media for an advertising spot will have an advantage compared to a client who does not offer any payment.

Before the programme ended, the participants were given an activity to work together on a pitch by applying the principles they have learned throughout the session with Mrs. Yan.

The workshop was conducted live via Zoom and was hosted by Izzah Rahmat.***

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