How to pitch … to journalists at the DACH market

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A successful pitch to press is fundamental to a company’s enlightened leadership status and brand awareness. When working internationally with different countries and cultures, there are specificities and decisive differences that must be taken into account. In this article, our public relations experts with decades of experience in the DACH media landscape will share some best practices when presenting the DACH market to the media.

Cultural differences – Don’t play with my data

German readers differ greatly from those in the United States in that they tend to communicate as directly as possible. This means that they are not taken over by flowery wordings and recognize marketing phrases at a glance. They value factual texts and want the author to get straight to the point without repeating himself.

A German particularity is the sensitivity to data protection. This subject must be treated with the greatest care. Compared to other European countries, German-speaking countries are particularly sensitive in this regard and react quickly in a critical manner. Germans attach great importance to their privacy and therefore the security of their data.

The German media landscape – where print media still play a role

With the spread of online media, the reach and importance of print media is steadily decreasing around the world. Although the print media is also slowly losing its reach in the DACH region, the effectiveness in the German-speaking region remains. Vertical sectors in particular, as public institutions and industry always attract a large number of readers interested in print media, unlike the consumer sector, which gains its audience online. Indeed, many decision-makers in these fields place great trust in the specialized press. However, some of these verticals are not as far advanced in their own digitalization or are subject to very strict online regulations due to security concerns. The written press therefore continues to be very present.

Especially with these expert posts, longer response times are to be expected. A specific issue is often published every few months, which means that the article may not always appear in the current edition. As a result, delayed media coverage of up to a few months can be expected.

Due to the current pandemic situation, some journalists work remotely or are on short-time work. The latter is a German form of employment in which employees work for a period limited to a reduced number of hours. It is common for them to be unavailable or difficult to reach by phone during this time. Indeed, digitization in Germany is lacking behind schedule and many employees often do not set up call forwarding to their mobile phones. Additionally, due to strict data protection regulations, newsrooms are rarely allowed to pass phone numbers.

Good practices for the pitch

Proprietary information is the best

The only way to reach journalists is often email. In doing so, you are rarely the only one, so it is even more important that the submitted material stands out from the competition. This can be useful if the topic refers to a current context. In the case of popular topics that are worked on by a lot, additional information or value-added details are a hallmark of the competition, which they cannot provide. In particular when it comes to contacting level 1 publications, this information can be offered exclusively to arouse the interest of journalists.

The bird ahead catches the worm

Based on nearly 40 years of experience in the DACH media landscape and findings from our own poll, we can provide you with advice on the optimal delivery of media pitches. The timing aspect plays an important role: the mornings, preferably from Tuesday to Thursday, are particularly suitable for sending press releases or articles to journalists. The worst time is Monday, as the majority of journalists hold their editorial meeting at that time.

In-depth foundations for successful pitches

To make a success of a pitch, it is crucial to choose the right angle, because it is decisive for the perception of the content. This is where most articles fail. Our advice is to conduct preliminary media research on the subject itself as this can help identify different aspects through the public eye. Ideally, incorporate them into your pitch.

In addition, we recommend conducting research on journalists and their most recent publications. It is important to determine what topics are currently on their agenda and if they have already reported on the topic and what aspects they have focused on.

If the editors already broached the subject of the pitch a few weeks ago, they are inclined to decline another article with similar content. If they still intend to do so, the latest information and significant added value are essential.

Let’s not forget that journalists need to present their articles and ideas at editorial meetings. The better we prepare the material, the easier it is for them to justify the story to their superiors, hence the greater the chances of a successful pitch.

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Ebru Özalan is Account Director at HBI, Germany.

This position is part of opinion leadership series of Worldcom Public Relations Group showcasing best practices in media relations and local market information.


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