Christy Pittman, W2 CommunicationsBy Christy Pittman

How to Pitch Reporters in the Digital Age

Christy Pittman

Pittman: “It doesn’t matter if your delivery method is a dazzler. If the pitch itself isn’t compelling, it’s not going to fly.”

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What’s the best way to really connect with a reporter? If you attended the recent W2 Communications-hosted event, “Social Media & the Press: How to Build Lasting Relationships,” you’d walk away with a great deal of valuable insight. Here’s what leading journalists taking part had to offer:

Delivery minus substance = zero. Sorry, but Steven Overly of the Washington Post put it bluntly: It doesn’t matter if  your delivery method is a dazzler. If the pitch itself isn’t compelling, it’s not going to fly. “A pitch that I’m not interested in is a pitch I’m not interested in,” he said.

Keep it short. At least at first. An introductory pitch shouldn’t contain large attachments, according to Katie Boehret of the Wall Street Journal. Email is always the best way to go at first, she said, because a reporter can immediately respond if it’s interesting, file it away for a future story or ignore it.

Don’t send what the competition is doing. Reporters are well aware of what their competitors are reporting on. So the “in case you missed it” email featuring a competitor’s work doesn’t really go over well. In fact, it’s disrespectful and can do more harm than good, said Grant Gross, of IDG News Service.

Stay up on social media. Reporters are going to Twitter and Foursquare for sources/leads, according to Matt Barakat, of the Associated Press. So, obviously, a hi tech PR agency should be there to best position clients.

Take advantage of comments. Some reporters read the comments on their articles and see them as a way to determine the direction of the next story, said Wyatt Kash, AOL Government. You can gain influence here.

It’s business and personal. For all of the social media and multiple platforms and bells-and-whistles delivery methods, Gross nicely summarized what really distinguishes effective communications strategies and public relations practices: “There’s untapped potential in social media. But the best PR people still develop personal relationships.”

At W2 Communications, that’s always been our MO as well. If connecting with influential journalists is among your New Year’s resolutions for 2012, feel free to give us a shout.


Christy Pittman is a senior account executive at W2 Communications.

Christy Pittman, W2 Communications

Christy Pittman, Vice President

Christy has focused her career on technology PR and marketing, building her knowledge base in security, telecommunications and wireless/satellite communications. She takes a detail-oriented approach to the day-to-day operations of her accounts to ensure that the communications programs align with the overall client strategies and goals.

Christy serves as the race director for W2 Communications’ charity race, Run! Geek! Run! and has lead the planning, execution and fundraising for the event since its inception. She is also a founding member of the Equal Footing Foundation’s Millennial Board and serves as part of its Communications Committee. She has also been a member of Women in Technology. Christy graduated cum laude from West Virginia University where she earned a bachelor’s degree from the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism. She lives in Northern Virginia and is a passionate Pittsburgh Steelers and WVU Mountaineers football fan.

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