man on phoneJournalists are bombarded with emails, texts and phone calls every day of the week. They are charged with doing more with less and are on deadline usually around the clock.

How can you as a PR person make sure that your pitch breaks through the clutter?

Here are five ways to improve your story pitch:

Research – Know your target list of journalists. Read their stories, social media newsfeeds and blogs. Find out how they prefer to be contacted (Email is still the most preferred method.) Learn what their interests are so you can personalize your pitch and make a lasting connection.

Create a news angle – Your new product line may be of interest to your company, but how do you make it appealing to the public? Does it solve a problem? Can you connect it to a news angle or trend? Think from the journalist’s perspective – how does this information help them cover their beat?

Keep it short and sweet – Write your pitch and then go back and shorten it. Rewrite the pitch and avoid using industry jargon. Take out the fluff and make sure that you have answered “what’s in it for me” for the journalist/target audience perspective.

Dangle a carrot – Leave the journalist wanting more. Provide enough information to peak his/her interest and provide a call to action to contact you for details on the story.

Build a relationship – Offer to be a source even if you don’t have any pressing news at the moment. Be helpful and become a valuable source to the journalist. Send them industry news tips or write an opinion about a story they have written about.

For more information on what journalists want, check out Bliss Integrated’s 2012 Survey of the Journalist’s World. The report covers what journalists want, how they want it and what causes them pain.

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