If you are trying to increase brand awareness with a limited budget for advertising and paid promotions, earned media is a great alternative. The best way to earn media coverage is for a brand representative to write a compelling pitch to a journalist whose audience matches the target audience for your brand. Pitching to the media is like an art form and there are many common mistakes people make when pitching. From media lists to subject lines, mastering your pitching skills is the best way to grab the attention of journalists and gain earned media coverage for your brand.

Here are five mistakes people commonly make when pitching media and tips on how you can avoid them moving forward:

1. You are Pitching the Wrong Audience

It all starts with your media list – a list of journalists who will receive your pitch. Be thorough in your research when creating media lists and use tools like Cision, MuckRack, and OnePitch which are databases that contain contact information for journalists. Social media can also be a great tool for sourcing media contacts. It is crucial to understand a journalist’s beat, interests, location, job title, and recent work before adding them to your media list. According to Cision’s 2021 State of the Media Report, 69% of journalists reported that only a quarter or less of the pitches they receive are relevant to their audience. Not only does sending an irrelevant pitch to a journalist waste your time, it also wastes their time and may prevent future collaboration.

Tip: Reference a recent article written by the journalist you are pitching to demonstrate that you did your research before reaching out.

2. Your Subject Line isn’t Eye-Catching

Journalists can receive hundreds of pitches a day, according to MuckRack. In order for your pitch to stand out from the crowd, your subject line must grab the journalist’s attention. In fact, according to Influencer Press, 35% of journalists open a pitch based on the subject line. Your subject line should summarize your pitch and sound news worthy using a concise six to eight words; and most importantly, it should resonate with the journalist. Without an existing relationship, the only thing convincing a journalist to open your pitch is your subject line. Keep this in mind when writing your pitch.

3. Your Pitch is Too Long

Your pitch shouldn’t reveal everything at once. Pitches should be short, effective, and structured, according to Just Reach Out. Journalists don’t have time to read every pitch in full so your pitch should start strong and be assertive explaining why your brand is newsworthy. Data, trends, consumer needs, and a deadline are all great details to share to demonstrate to a journalist why they should take action. Keep your pitch to a minimum of three short paragraphs and be as concise as possible. The pitch should explain your brand or story and why the journalist should care, but should leave them wanting more so there is an incentive to reach out for more information.

4. Your Pitch is Too Generic

A pitch is meant to provide a story or unique angle to journalists, inspiring them to write a spectacular story that will impress their editor. A generic pitch sharing simple facts about your brand will not suffice. AGCK Firm recommends considering these few queries when building a story around your brand:

Will this educate or engage an audience? Does data support this story? Is there a natural human interest or need? Will this story resonate?

Be sure to include information explaining what makes your pitch relevant, important, and different from all the other pitches in their inbox.

5. Your Pitch is Missing Valuable Media Assets

 Most media is consumed in digital formats and assets like images, videos, logos, and even quotes from experts or executives can help a journalist craft a compelling story. Your pitch should include all the assets a journalist may need to fulfill their assignment. Provide a link to your brand’s press materials in your pitch to support the journalist in the editorial process. This acknowledges that the journalist’s time is valuable, which will aid in building relationships with media, according to Forbes.

A strong pitch is the foundation for earned media coverage and building strong media relationships. PitchBox Media bridges the gap between trend-worthy brands and national media, delivering your pitch to a targeted list of 100+ media subscribers in a themed media shipment complete with everything journalists need to file their story.