The Anatomy of a Broadcast Media Pitch

For a PR pro, there’s no greater feeling than landing that hard-earned broadcast segment. In fact, according to the Propel Media Barometer, for every 100 pitches journalists receive, they only respond to three.

While media relationships play a large role in securing that sought-after segment, it’s all about the pitch. And with nearly six PR pros for every one journalist as well as increasingly faster news cycles, communicators need to be strategic about how they tell stories.

So, what makes a pitch “perfect”? Let’s break it down.

What’s a pitch?

A PR pitch is a short, engaging, and timely message outlining the value of the story and explaining why a journalist should book the interview. Today, we’re breaking it down into four critical components with tips on how to master each.

The Header (subject line): Make a strong first impression

Whoever said you never get a second chance to make a first impression, must have been in PR. Write your subject line as if your pitch depends upon it—because it does.

  • Keep it short
    • Subject lines that are 1-5 words have the highest response rate (about 5%).
    • A subject line of 6-9 words lowers the response rate.
    • Think about which words carry the most weight. Trim down and remove frivolous detail.
  • Personalize
    • No two journalists are the same—and that means the emails you send to them shouldn’t be either. Create subject lines (and pitches!) catered to the individual.
  • Create relevance
    • Incorporate a timely topic to create a sense of urgency and to establish your brand as an authority within the industry.

The Body: Keep it brief, really brief 

Journalists work on deadlines, and they’re always short on time. When it comes to pitching, shorter is better.

  • Word counts matter
    • A full 91% of journalists prefer pitches of under 200 words (or about 2-3 paragraphs), with average journalist response rates being highest on pitches ranging from 50 to149 words.
    • Pitches of 500-1,000+ words result in lowest journalist engagement rates.
  • Be concise
    • Clearly state what it is you’re offering.
    • Offer up relevant background information.
    • Explain why now is the time to cover your story.
    • Clarify why your story matters to their audience. 
  • Provide relevant links only
    • Include embedded links driving to assets and/or additional information.
    • More than half of PR pitches include 4+ embedded links. However, pitches with 2-3 embedded links have the highest response rates.

Recipient: Drop the “To Whom It May Concern”

The goal is to establish a relationship with the journalist, so it’s vital to not only engage the right reporters but also tailor your pitch to its indented recipient.

  • Know your recipient
    • Take time to read through the reporter’s articles to learn more about their points of view and audience.
  • Add a personal twist
    • Journalists are inundated with pitches, and most can see right through a generic copy and paste. Personalization goes a long way.
  • Let them know who you are
    • Be sure to include a brief description that tells the journalist why they should care about you.

Timing: It’s still everything

We all have different rhythms when it comes to work, but research shows that the time of day a pitch hits a reporter’s inbox can have a huge impact on whether or not they read it.

  • According to Muck Rack, 68% of journalists prefer to receive pitches between 5 a.m. and 12 p.m. EST.
    • 34% of journalists prefer to be pitched between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.
    • 34% of journalists prefer to be pitched between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.
  • Journalists also cited Monday (57%) as their favorite day to receive a pitch followed by Tuesday (20%).


Sweating the details makes all the difference. Effectively engaging with the media means knowing who they are and learning how they work. Following these simple steps can mean the difference between booking a segment and getting a pass.