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Post-Times dos and don’ts

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Post-Times Dos And Don'ts

Two Fridays ago, I sent out a media alert for a round-up of foodie breaks which ran in The Times on Saturday.
Despite giving a thorough brief — perhaps too thorough? — I received a full gamut of responses. Looking back at them, I’ve compiled some dos and don’ts. These aren’t intended to make anyone feel bad, just to be constructive:
– If possible, pitch somewhere likely to be less competitive: in the case of this round-up, France and Italy were predictably the most popular shouts. Those people who pitched Warsaw, Tbilisi and Tallinn were successful.
– Give me a USP or catchy summary line. “Auvergne, because the food’s great” is far less effective than “Auvergne, because it makes France’s best paté” or even “Auvergne for cheese and Charolais beef”. If you can boil your pitch down to narrower, catchier summaries like these, it’ll be easier to immediately consider. 
– Reply within the deadline, and as soon as possible, but…
– …skim-read the brief. It’s not a good look to pitch the Caribbean for a Europe-only round-up!
– Just send me a copy-and-pasted paragraph from a press release, or one only slightly adapted to my pitch, unless it’s spot-on appropriate. It’s too transparent, looks half-assed and doesn’t convince me that your idea is a good fit.
– Ask first if I might be interested in Hotel X or Destination Y? Either pitch, or don’t pitch: I do appreciate it might prove to be a waste of time, but that’s a risk you’ll simply have to take.
– Pitch something over-focused on a hotel/cottage/etc, unless the round-up topic (eg 50 Best Hotels) demands it. In Times pieces like the one, entries are chiefly focused on cities or regions, and accommodation tends to figure only very sparsely. Therefore, the pitch should begin with specific (not just “it has wonderful restaurants”), relevant and catchy details about the city or region – before getting on to your hotel client.
I hope this is useful.  If there’s anything you’re unsure about, please do ask me.

What Richard Thinks…

“This effort by Fiona wins the weekly award for its pithy paragraphs, box-ticking price inclusions and useful sample summaries

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