6 Tips to Pitch Business Journalists

I’ve been writing about business for a long time. Since the arrival of social media, how one can pitch a business publication with a story has changed a bit. Today, you have more options. 

Breaking business news always will be my favorite.

If you have a breaking news item, there are a few ways to reach your local business reporter or editor, and they all involve a different social media platform.

It’s especially important today – with journalists having to cover multiple beats and industries – to catch their eye and stay on their radar. 

1. Build a relationship with the journalist.

Actively feed them tips and things happening in and around your city, and don’t have an agenda.

My best sources were those who gave me news bits they heard in meetings or just the good ol’ fashioned grapevine. Many times, these news items didn’t even involve the person who gave me the scoop.

2. Pitch your story where they are.

Journalists have to stay on top of social media.

Twitter grants you 140 characters to get to your point. Here’s the catch: While tweeting to your business journalist, don’t publicly give the news away. Doing so might tip off that reporter or editor’s competitor, and this can be very frustrating for the journalist.

I recommend you either direct message (DM) the journalist or publicly drop them a cryptic note, e.g. “Hey, got a scoop for you. Call me.”

Facebook and LinkedIn are great options to message the journalist directly. Tips that come in through these platforms also break up the monotony of the journalist digging for stories through their Rolodex or reading through hundreds of emails in their inbox. 

If you come at a reporter or editor through a different mechanism, congratulations, you’ve got their attention. And they’ll remember you.

Now, if you’re already pretty close to your reporter or editor, and you have them on Google Chat, you’re in the club. Just IM them when they’re online. Journalists love it when scoops fall out of the sky from a trusted source.

3. Remember the oldies and goodies.

Cell phones and email still will always be good ways to reach your business reporter or editor.

Regardless, if the journalist runs with a story that you gave them, they’ll remember the tip came from you. So when you need to bend their ear toward a story that may be less breaking, but still newsworthy, they’ll be likely to listen. 

4. Know the news outlet.

Not all business publications are created equal and they may cover different things. Do your homework and make sure you pitch appropriately. 

Consider their deadlines and editorial calendar.

If the reporter or editor is on deadline, it’s crunch time in the newsroom and you should try the following day when things are quieter.

5. Don’t fax or send attachments.

It’s too much work to open; journalists are being pulled in too many directions.

6. Include your contact information.

In your pitch, include a way for the journalist to contact you. Your cellphone number is best. It’s critical to be reachable if and when the reporter or editor has follow-up questions.

Christine Cube is a media relations manager for PR Newswire and freelance writer. Good luck catching her on GChat. You’ll have better luck tweeting to her @cpcube.