Feature Pitching Explained

By Alice McCutcheon

We’re in the business of providing print and broadcast press with newsworthy, relevant content and pitching potential feature ideas to our journalist contacts is one way we go about this. It helps no end if our clients understand the process, as whilst we have the experience, relationships and expertise, there is an element of teamwork involved.

We pitch to reporters, editors and bloggers with the goal of securing targeted coverage for our clients that emphasises their key messages. The rules of effective feature pitching are as follows:

Creative thinking

Nothing is left to chance.  Our feature pitches are carefully crafted and strategic thinking with a good dose of creativity is essential.  Whatever we put forward needs to be not only fresh and engaging, but most importantly it needs to be newsworthy.  There needs to be a reason that it should be shared with their readers/viewers at that moment. These two elements need to be weaved together seamlessly.

Communication skills

Reporters are inundated with feature ideas every single day.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that we have about ½ second to get their attention! If we don’t hit the right spot instantly, it will be disregarded.

Contacts

We’ve spent years building a substantial list of journalist contacts and nurturing relationships within the trade and consumer press.  This means, along with knowing who to reach out to, what they like to write about and what their readers like to read about, we also know the optimum time of day to get in touch with particular journalists and how they like to be contacted.

Collaboration

Finally, a pitch has to be robust enough to sustain a whole feature. Working with clients to add the final touches with wonderful images, access to relevant spokespeople, compelling facts and newsworthy statistics provides the icing on the cake.

When these four Cs fall into place, the results are 100% worth the effort.  Here are a couple of examples to illustrate this:

Angle: Buyers preparing for downsizing in advance by investing in a suitable property early on and renting it out in the meantime.

Result: A full page in The Express that included two of our clients, detailing two of their key sites.

Angle:  Homes for fitness fanatics to highlight new homes with fabulous sports facilities.

Result:  Our client was featured in The Guardian. Details of the cricket pitch and pavilion, tennis courts, football pitch and skate park created at their development were included.