Pitching the Press

How to sell the press on a story through an effective pitch.

Table of Contents

Preparing Your Pitch

Pitch Strategies

Crafting Your Outreach Message

Preparing Your Pitch

How to get ready to send your pitch by laying out your press deliverables and outreach timeline, and considering what different types of outlets may be looking for.

Press Pitch Deliverables

Here are the core deliverables you’ll want to prepare when getting ready to submit a story to the press.

Write a brief email you’ll use to reach out to your press contacts with the story.

This document will contain the details of your story and should be linked in the body of your outreach email.

Photos & Videos

Include a Google Drive or Dropbox folder link with any photos or videos associated with your story, and file names that clearly and accurately depict who and what is in each photo/video.

Source Links

Any resources cited in your media document should be linked to spare the journalist the effort of having to vet your citations.

Include a link to our website in the media document so that journalists can easily find more information on our efforts.

Pitch Timeline

A brief overview of when to send your press outreach in preparation for a media event.

Media Relevance Considerations

It’s good to familiarize yourself with what the different players within the media landscape are looking for, and how to make your outreach relevant to them.

Newspapers / Digital News

  • Stories should be timely and related to ongoing or recent events (within the past couple days).

  • These outlets want strong written stories and compelling photography (and video for digital outlets). Include these in press releases or help them imagine what stories or photos they could capture at the event.

  • Most have opinion sections that LTEs and Op-Eds can be submitted to.


  • Stories will typically be about live/ongoing events.

  • These outlets want to capture compelling video and/or audio. Help them imagine what camera shots they could capture, or who they could interview to tell a good story.

  • When pitching an event to TV stations, make sure to have a prepared spokesperson present.


  • Usually pitching to a freelancer rather than an outlet.

  • There is less time pressure or a need for the story to be breaking news.

  • Magazines are more interested in building a narrative for their audience. Think about how to present a unique perspective and include compelling visual elements.

  • Follow editorial calendars to pitch timely stories for upcoming issues.


  • Your pitch is to an individual rather than an outlet.

  • Pitch a concise but compelling written summary of your story idea, as well as any visual elements you have.

  • They take the ideas you pitch them and shop around to sell them to the outlets they’re connected to.

Other (blogs, podcasts, etc)

  • Can pitch evergreen content that isn’t breaking news.

  • Pitch ideas for compelling discussion topics for their podcast, blog post subjects, etc.

  • Good opportunity to discuss overarching goals and core campaign talking points.

Pitch Strategies

Below are some strategies for getting your media pitches noticed and published, and effectively controlling the narrative for your campaign.

  1. Reach out early. For stories that are public knowledge and may spur opposition messaging, it’s important to reach out early to get ahead of the narrative. Initial coverage can set the tone for subsequent coverage, as journalists often borrow from existing media narratives to write their own stories.

  2. Only pitch what’s relevant to each journalist. It’s important to find reporters whose beat lines up with the particular story we’re trying to pitch, and to tailor your outreach email to match their beat.

  3. Be splashy. Your pitch should present the story in a way that’s compelling so journalists feel it will be of interest to their audience. Think of ways to frame your message that will capture attention, and include stirring photos in your press releases. For advisories, describe who and what reporters could see at the event to help them visualize the potential story. Reporters want visuals and characters through which to tell their stories.

  4. Keep it audience-friendly. For standard news outlets, avoid using jargon or overly emotional language that may alienate a journalist (e.g. terms like “speciesism”, or too many emotive adverbs). Write a story that sticks to the facts and stirs emotion through moving storytelling rather than dramatic language.

  5. Double-check your facts. Publishing false claims can damage the reputation of a news outlet, and may even result in legal backlash. Providing incorrect information in a press release may permanently damage our credibility and relationships with journalists.

  6. Make it easy. Journalists are busy, so the easier you make it for them to visualize and build a story, the more likely they will be to do so. Be sure to equip them with all relevant details, citations, and press deliverables. Journalists typically have many other options for stories sitting in their inbox, so if your story requires additional work or follow-up, they may decide it’s not worth the extra effort.

  7. Personalize your outreach. When reaching out to a journalist for the first time, try to add a personal touch in your introductory sentence to show you’re a real person and not spam. Demonstrate familiarity with their work by complimenting a previous story.

  8. Include a plug for previous coverage. Sharing some examples of previous press coverage at the end of press releases and in pitches to new journalists can help to establish credibility.

    • Example: I'm the press coordinator for Pro-Animal Future, a grassroots political movement working to end factory farming. Our work has recently been featured on Denver7, Denverite, KDVR, and more.

  9. Follow up! If you haven’t heard back after 3-4 days, try following up. Ideally, you should give them a call directly or via the news desk, or send a follow-up email if you don’t have a phone number. Prepare a quick pitch on why the story is worth covering, why you want them to cover it specifically, and directly ask them if they will cover it.

    • Follow up no more than 2X; otherwise, you risk being marked as spam, or coming across too pushy and damaging relationships with your press contacts.

    • Example email follow-up:

      Hi Joe, I wanted to circle back on my story about [X]. I think it could be compelling to your readership, as [include reasoning here]. Do you think this is something you’d want to cover?

  10. Correct any inaccuracies and misinformation. If the coverage of your story includes any false or inaccurate information, reach out to the journalist who published it as soon as possible with revisions. Depending on the severity of the error, it’s important to get the story corrected right away, as most views happen within the first day of publication. Minor, non-harmful errors can be mentioned as a courtesy to the writer while noting that it’s not important to us if they’re corrected, as we don’t want to be nitpicky or demanding.

Crafting Your Outreach Message

Writing a good pitch to your media contacts is key in capturing their attention and getting published. Make sure your pitch email follows the principles below:

Media Pitch Email Examples

Email Blast to All Press Contacts

In a pinch where quick turnaround time is necessary, you may need to send out one email to your entire press list. This is an example of a generic press release email sent to all press contacts.

Subject: Press Release: Fur & Slaughterhouse Bans to Appear on Denver’s Ballot

Hi all,

You may be interested to know Denver Elections received 31,000+ voter signatures between a fur sales ban and a slaughterhouse ban. These two issues would go on the 2024 Denver ballot.

I understand you're swamped covering the current election, but here's a press release if you're interested in updating your viewers/readers on this development for 2024.

We will update you once the City has verified that we got enough signatures. Our group Pro-Animal Future aims to build a movement of pro-animal voters who support an evolution away from factory farming. Together we seek to protect neighborhoods, workers, the environment, and animals.

Have a great week!

Email to News Team

Where possible, sending a customized email per outlet or journalist is preferable. For outlets that you have multiple contacts for, it’s good practice to send an email with all contacts CC’d so they are aware who else is on the thread. Journalists appreciate this extra effort so that multiple team members don't waste their time picking up the same story.

Good morning Denverite Team,

I'm writing to share the news that two measures led by Pro-Animal Future, one to ban the sale of fur and one to ban slaughterhouses, have officially qualified to appear on the 2024 ballot in Denver. Following a thorough review of over 31,000 voter signatures that were submitted in support of these measures, the City of Denver has confirmed that both petitions contain sufficient valid signatures.

Here is a press release with additional details on this development.

Pro-Animal Future aims to build a movement of pro-animal voters who support an evolution away from factory farming. Together we seek to protect neighborhoods, workers, the environment, and animals.

Thank you and have a great week!

First Outreach to Journalist

An example of an initial outreach email to a new press contact. Including a compliment of their work shows that you’ve done your research and want to connect with them specifically, which helps to build a relationship with that contact.

Hi Grace,

You're prolific with Sentient Media, and I loved your article about how you can love farm animals and still run for office. You've also written about the research done by Pax Fauna! I'm with Pro-Animal Future, the political group that Pax Fauna started. We have news!

We just turned in 31,000+ signatures to the City of Denver, so that Denver can vote next year to ban fur sales and ban slaughterhouses.

The slaughterhouse ban could be exciting news, since we don't know of any place yet that has banned slaughterhouses on animal rights as well as human rights grounds. I can let you and Sentient Media know once Denver Elections has verified that we will be on the 2024 ballot.

Our dream is to inspire a political movement where people see themselves as pro-animal voters, who vote to evolve away from factory farming and slaughterhouses as a society.

Thanks again for your great reporting!

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