Pitching anything to someone you know who works in the media is surprisingly difficult. Most likely, you make several assumptions that lead to a failed pitch, and thus no coverage. For example:
- You assume they know about it already. They are your friend, or you assume they see all of your postings in social media. The result? They are probably just enjoying your posts as a potential customer or attendee or simply as a supporter.
- You assume you don't need to tell them why it's special. Hook them like you would anyone - in an email.
- You email 1 sentence that might not even provide information about the event. That's how sure you are that they know, or want to know.
Treat all friends as new people who don't know you and don't know about the event. Then pitch them. These tips address pitching personal friends in the media, but work for pitching the press about events in general.
1. The "are you looking to fill space on XYZ?" approach:
Usually media people aren’t looking for events, per say. Of course they want to write about the must-do events. But they are rarely at a loss for ideas. Your idea - if they pick it up - usually happens because it cut in line of what they were already planning.
2. Create the Must-Do Effect about your event
Your job becomes: what makes your event a must-do. If you say to yourself “I don’t know…it’s not as good as the others…it’s just a mediocre event” then you need to listen to some Tin Shingle TuneUps that break through this myth. Look up our "Give Yourself Permission" series.
3. Don't ask your friend permission to pitch them
No need to ask permission to pitch. Just pitch! I’ve had people who I don’t know ask if we receive unsolicited pitches, and I usually assume they are spam people. One time I responded to someone, and he was a reporter for Vice and a few others, so definitely was a professional. But it was surprising that he pitched this way. Honestly, it was a fluke that I responded. I usually ignore. Right now, the spam people are asking this type of permission in long form emails. It’s people who claim to do SEO, and they email publications like mine with unrelated content ideas, or requesting permission to send pitches.
4. Have a hook - why it’s amazing, or why it would appeal to this particular writer.
Even though this writer is your friend, they still have an audience to please. You must tell them why your event appeals to their audience. You are laying the breadcrumbs.
5. Include a pictures. People always love shiny objects.
If it's the event flyer, or some other picture like from a past event, include it. It helps sparks the reader's imagination and confidence in the event.