What Are Your Chances of A Successful Media Pitch? Ouch.

Everyone who thinks they have a news story needs to see this number because it’s one that should hit you right between the eyes:


That’s the percentage of emailed media pitches by PR types that are actually successful. Really. Believe it or not, it’s a record high.

Check out the latest report from PR software company Propel (for the record, we don’t use software for any media contact, we humans do it all).

If you’re doing it right, your success number shouldn’t be this low. That means don’t “cast a wide net” with database-generated media lists that force you to “spray and pray” – that’s really common a reason why this number is lower than it should be.

Also, don’t send essays instead of succinct, timely information. Find actual news to offer to journalists actually likely to cover it. Personalize it (no, “I hope you’re doing well” doesn’t count). Learn from your experience and remember that if you have never been successful with a particular pitch, and you’ve never actually seen anyone be successful with it, chances are you’re not going to break any ground, especially in this environment.

A word to clients in this context: When your PR counsel tells you that something you think is a news story isn’t, please believe them. They’re not saying it because they’re not “creative” our “outside the box.” They’re being honest and acting in your interest not theirs. Same goes for when they tell you that to make a pitch successful, it’s going to need more or different elements, like a person affected by the story or access to a company or numbers that help make more than just an idea. Please don’t be a part of the problem. Please listen to the reality.

This is a tough business. As newsroom contraction and consolidation continues, it’s getting tougher. I used to say that if you want to make any part of your living pitching stories to journalists, get prepared for rejection. Now, it’s get prepared for no answers and do whatever you have to do every day to get that batting average as high as you can, even, or especially, if it means pushing back on your clients and/or bosses. Otherwise, welcome to the 96.6 percent.