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The Perfect Pitch Is Just a Call Away: How To Pitch the Ultimate Angle to the Media

Mainland Senior Account Executive Matt Puttin shares why research, staying succinct and fostering reporter relationships lead to wins.

By 1851 Staff1851 Staff Contributions
SPONSORED 3:15PM 07/19/24

For some, it’s intimidating to make a call and spark up a conversation with a person they’ve never met––but media pitchers live for it. The pitching process is no walk in the park and if you want to appeal to the media, you need to nail a certain technique.

In order to sell a story to a media outlet, you need a plan of attack that quickly answers “So what?” for the media professional. Matt Puttin––Mainland senior account executive––has been calling reporters and news stations for years and after hundreds of pitches, he’s been able to set himself up for success and teach his co-workers the do’s and don’ts of pitching.

According to Puttin, it takes more than just a friendly “hello” to appeal to a reporter; it takes becoming a student of the media.

Preparation is pivotal

When a reporter is listening to a pitch, they’re going to be asking themselves, “Is this newsworthy?” Puttin recommends that when preparing a pitch, it’s important to make sure it touches on at least four of the six journalistic news values––proximity, prominence, timeliness, impact, conflict and human interest. No reporter is going to want anything to do with a story if it doesn’t scream “news.”

Every pitch needs a little sugar and spice to capture one’s attention. To do this, Puttin claims it’s key to come from a humanistic angle in order to sprinkle in some texture and make the pitch more unique. 

“If you’re about to pitch to a reporter about a franchisee opening their first restaurant, you have to beef it up with interesting facts,” said Puttin. “Adding information about a franchisee's family, hobbies or why they chose to partner with a particular brand can instantly make a story more appealing to a reporter.”

Research the reporter

Going into a call without doing any sort of research will only set you up for failure. It’s important to investigate the specific beat—or subject matter—the reporter covers, the type of publication they work for and the types of stories they’ve written in the past. This will give you an idea of the pitch angle you’re going for.

“Having the reporter’s background information in mind when calling helps me connect with them more and allows the conversation to flow,” said Puttin. “It makes you look more professional and like less of a cold-caller.”

Keep it short and sweet 

If your pitch is on the longer side, you might want to cut it down and stick to the basics. Puttin explains that it’s not the pitcher’s job to spoon-feed the reporter the story––that’s their job to own. 

“Our job as pitchers is to provide the ease on the brushes and it’s the reporter’s job to paint the picture,” said Puttin. “We provide the small pieces to the puzzle and it’s up to the reporter if our stories get told or not.”

Mainland CEO Nick Powills has shared his insight as a regular recipient of pitches—and a former PR executive himself—and emphasizes that pitches should be clean, crisp and to the point. 

“Nick would get press releases sent to him all the time and he’d be like, ‘No one has time to read these four-minute pieces,’” said Puttin. “So he does a great job at emphasizing the importance of keeping our calls short.”

Maintain reporter relationships

If there’s one thing that Puttin applauds Mainland for, it’s how well the company nurtures relationships and uses its networking abilities. When it comes to the media world, there’s no such problem as having too many relationships. 

“As long as you’re honest and transparent with the reporter, they’ll be likely to listen to your future pitches and help tell your story for calls to come,” said Puttin.

Helping Mainland establish good rapport is one of Puttin’s priorities as a senior account executive and––while it may seem like common sense to most people––his top tip is to be kind and polite when talking to reporters.

“People are in such a rush nowadays––especially in this industry––and all it takes sometimes is to be a kind and decent human being to win a reporter over,” said Puttin.

Sounds like good advice both on and off the phones.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.