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Tips for building rapport with reporters so you can pitch your story

Now that you know what mistakes to avoid when pitching, it is time to figure out how to get yourself in the best light so that even if you do make some mistakes, you have enough rapport to keep the reporter interested anyway.

If you want to build rapport with reporters so you can pitch your story and have it come off like you are for real, and worth listening to, you have to do things right. If you do not sound like you know what you are talking about, or know how the process works, then they won't have second thoughts about dismissing you and your story idea.

If you are pitching on the phone do the following to build rapport:
First, create the pitch before you pick up the telephone. You do not want to go into the pitch unprepared because it makes you look like a rookie, and thus your credibility and rapport are shot. So, type up your pitch. Then rehearse it. Make sure it is no longer than 30 seconds. Rehearse it enough times that is sounds natural, and not like you are reading it. Reading it off a paper is cheesy, and reporter is going to know-not good for building rapport. You have to seem professional, even if you are sitting in PJ's on the other end of the line.

Second, you have to set the stage right for the reporter. You will likely want to let the reporter know who you are and where you're from (what company). They need a reference point for who they are talking to. So, "I am (Blank), with (Whatever company you work for)" is all you really need to say.

Then, the next words out of your mouth are very important. They are going to show the reporter that you respect them and their time. So, these words need to be, "Is this a good time to talk?" They will tell you yes or no, be prepared for either.

If yes: Continue with your pitch.
If no: Then ask the person, "When would it be a good time to talk?" or "When may I return the call?" They will tell you. NEVER ask if you can leave your name and telephone number and if they can call you back. They won't! They will say yes, but they will never get to it. You're the one who initiated the call, so you're the one who should be calling back if it's a bad time, it is not their job to do that. So, show your respect and offer to return the call.

So, if you can continue your pitch, you will want to use no more than two sentences to explain you idea. If they are interested, and want more, then follow that up with another sentence or two. Keep this up. Only say a little at a time, and do not try to get in too much info.

You will want to be prepared with the "whys" and the "hows" This will help you build rapport. So, not only tell them what you idea is, but why it should be used. Give your story credibility by using census figures, quotes, stats, etc. that really back it up. That gives your pitch more credibility. So once you've explained in a sentence or two what the idea is, you've explained why they should care, now you need to end with respect, as this will help them give you respect back. So, your next question should be, "Does this sound like something you'd be interested in?" They will either be or they won't be, and they will tell you.

Now that you know how to build rapport so that a reporter will listen to your pitch, it is time to get the details about how to pitch by phone. So, look for these great tips in your inbox tomorrow.

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