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A slow news day and when it’s best to pitch a story to media

A slow news day and when it’s best to pitch a story to media

Understanding news cycles is a pretty important part of what we do at Media Stable. Knowing when to pitch a business story versus a lifestyle piece is critical if you want to get media engagement. It’s just as important as knowing which media outlet to send a pitch to in the first place.

There are lots of factors that impact on the timing of a pitch. And they don’t always come into play concurrently. Here’s some of the basics that we think about, which you might want to consider when putting your content together.

  1. Early in the week is good for pitching hard hitting news or business related stories. Of course, if you have a story about an ASX100 company, or a high profile person, and it’s a good yarn, then it will get a run any day of the week. But generally, audiences are hungry for the hard stuff Monday – Thursday, and so publications and outlets will broadcast and publish harder news to cater to that.
  2. Lifestyle content is well received mid to later in the week, when the lifestyle programs are gearing up for their time to shine – the weekend. If you have a human interest story, or a lifestyle piece – anything to do with how we live our lives – then it’s best to pitch it on Thursday – Friday.
  3. When an event like the recent shooting in Las Vegas happens, that will wipe out the majority of pitching that week. Media is preoccupied, so you’re better of holding your pitch back until the following week. Or at the very least, make sure you follow up once the dust has settled on a major event.
  4. As a counter to that, pitching on a slow news day is advisable. Media will have some time up their sleeve to think about future stories, as opposed to the days they’re chasing their tails. How do you pick a slow news day? If the news bulletin headlines are weak, or you’re wondering why a yarn about a minor celebrity has the top spot on your favourite news site, you can be sure it’s not because the editors got it wrong, it’s because there’s nothing better going on. This is an ideal day to pitch a story.
  5. When it comes to pitching stories linked to an external event – like Mental Health Week for example – you need to be strategic about your pitching. For print/digital news, you might pitch a longer form opinion piece a week out from the start of Mental Health Week, to make sure it’s in front of editors with enough time in advance. Then you might pitch a story on the Media Board on the Sunday night when MHW kicks off on the Monday, so your idea is in the inboxes of media the morning of the first day of that event week. Then you might pitch another story on the Media Board in the middle of Mental Health Week to get more traction. We like to pitch event related content about 3-4 days before the event is happening, although depending on the event that can change too.
  6. If you’re pitching based on an internal event that you’re running, you need to give media more time than if it’s an external event. Aim to invite media along at least 2-3 weeks in advance, and then pitch them a story at least 10 days in advance of the event.
  7. Know the deadlines of your target media. There is no better way to tick off a print journo that ringing them up to pitch them a story on their deadline day. Also, it defeats the purpose because you’re too late to get a story in that news cycle. Know your target media’s deadlines, and pitch according to those. It’s as simple as asking the journalist what their deadline day or time is, and working around it.

There are many more factors involved in getting the timing right, but these are the basics. The fact is, media cycles and timing is different across TV, print, digital and radio and the programs within each of those. Understanding how your target media’s timing works will get you one step closer to nailing a pitch.

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