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Common mistakes when pitching to reporters and how to avoid them

So, you want to pitch your story idea to a reporter, and get some free publicity and coverage for yourself, company, etc. The series of emails you will receive over the next ten days will help you do just that.

One of the things you need to do, is not only pitch right, but also avoid the common mistakes when pitching to reporters. Reporters do not want to deal with you if you are not going to do things right. So, know what mistakes to avoid so that you can greatly increase your chances of having a reporter accept your pitch.

Common mistake #1: Pitching when they do not have time to hear

The biggest mistake you can make when pitching to a reporter is to try pushing your story when they are too busy to hear it. If you call a reporter when they are on a deadline (which was a good percentage of the time), and you immediately go into your pitch, they are not going to listen to your pitch even if it is really great.

So, the best way to avoid this mistake is to show the reporter you are pitching to that you respect their time, and know that they are busy. You need to make sure that when you call a reporter to pitch a story that you get the whole thing over within thirty seconds or less. If you ask if they have time, they will say no, so ask if you can leave a message on their voice mail, or when you can call. Then follow through. Or, if you go into your pitch, keep it brief.

Common mistake #2: Not having a relevant pitch

The second mistake you can make when pitching to a reporter is pitching a story that has nothing to do with the business.For example, if the reporter works for The Business Journal, do not pitch a story about kindergarteners singing at the mall. This will get you a "NO!" for sure. Think about it, if you want to have your pitch accepted, it better make sense for the publication or television show to accept it.

So, the best way to avoid this mistake is to do your research! Before ever making a pitch to a reporter for a print publication, one of the things you should be sure to do is read the publication and have a really clear idea of the kinds of things that they publish. If your story is really different from what they typically print, you should not pitch it to that particular publication. If you're pitching a TV program reporter, make sure you either watch the program on TV, or you have so you have a feel for what they usually air.

Common mistake #3: Using the word publicity

Even if your goal is to get some free publicity for your business, if you say "publicity" to the reporter, your pitch is going to lose all credibility. Never ask the reporter for publicity, or tell them you think you deserve it. Instead, show them you deserve it. So, instead of saying, "My company has been doing all these great things, and we should be recognized for it." You should say, "My company has been doing all of these great things, and they are important because." You avoid this mistake by showing, not telling the reporter why you deserve publicity, and why what you are doing is newsworthy.

Look for more great tips tomorrow for how you can build rapport with reporters so that you have the credibility and respect you need to get your pitch across.

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