in: Public Relations
by: Sabina Hitchen
So you have your great elevator pitch down pat, visuals in place, and a stellar media kit.....Now it's time to reach out to the media, but when?
Do you call first thing Monday morning? Do you call before the Today Show goes on the air? Do you call on weekends?
The truth is, just as every pitch has to be modified depending on what outlet you are pitching, the time and frequency at which you pitch also has to be modified. Here are some basic rules of thumb:
National Morning Shows (Today Show, Good Morning America, Mike & Juliet Show): Keep in mind that the producers you want to reach out to are working on segments during the morning as the shows air and do not have time to talk to you while they are producing a live show. Wait on reaching out to these folks until the afternoon. At this point they have had post-show planning meetings, and will be thinking about future shows. Give a call to the news desk to find the best producer to pitch or watch the credits at the end of the show to see who is listed as the segment producer for the topic you are planning on pitching.
Newspapers: Be mindful of editorial deadlines here - newspapers are creating new content daily so they are often on deadine in the late afternoon. These media contacts will also need to rececive any information they ask you for very quickly as once again, their deadline may be the very next day. Only pitch a newspaper when you are ready to interview asap and have everything they need to publish on hand and easily accessible.
Magazines: Magazines work 3-6 months into the future, so first be sure you are pitching in accordance to their copy deadlines and editorial calendar. The best time to reach a magazine tends to be Tuesdays - Thursdays between the hours of 11 am through 3 pm.
News Desk Pitching: When calling any news desk whether it's your local Fox outlet or a national news outlet it's best to pitch around their major news segment air times. This means, try not to pitch during the "morning drive" time of 8 or 9 am, steer away from calling the desk at lunch time, and again at during the time leading up to their 6 pm newscast. These will be the busiest times when the fewest amount of people are available to direct your calls.
Weekend PItching: A little known fact about calling newsdesks is that the weekends are a great time to call them and pitch your story. The competition to get through will be small as very few pr firms are working on the weekends pitching their stories, and the staff will be much less harried!