In the world of PR, there is pretty much nothing better than the feeling when you score that big hit for your client. AKHIA is known for garnering media in top-tier publications. Landing stories in Wall Street Journal, Parents magazine and Good Housekeeping is pretty commonplace for the team, but never, ever something we take for granted. In today’s media landscape, scoring those brag-worthy wins is getting harder to come by. It’s a competitive space, and that’s why being equipped with strong and savvy media relations skills is becoming more important than ever before.

It’s really important to always know what makes your pitch stand out, and more importantly, what type of pitch will earn you a one-way trip to the trash bin. (Did you know that the average reporter can receive anywhere from 250-350 pitches per day? That’s insane!) How do you make sure the reporter gets the message that your product is the must-have product of the season? Or that the service you’re offering is better than its competitors?

I asked for some top tips and tricks from some of my “reporter friends” on best pitching practices. So, here you are, straight from the source:

Research, research, research. The best pitches speak to what the reporter actually covers. Read past stories, do some social listening and make sure you’re making the link to what our client is delivering and what specific reporters are covering. A reporter can tell when you haven’t done your homework.

Get to the point. Be focused. Be concise. Be the one who shows the reporter you understand what makes news. The best pitches make a connection for the reporter right off the bat with a short and relevant nod about why the reporter should read on.

Make it easy. Have the information spelled out so that no one needs to hunt it down. If you’re pitching a new product, include the hyperlink and topline bullets that outline key points. A rule of thumb is to make sure the reporter can access more information with the click of a button.

Don’t pitch straight product. In most cases, reporters are looking for a larger trend story. Don’t just pitch the latest coffee maker, instead show why research shows consumers are gravitating to the specific “bells and whistles” your product offers.

Follow-up etiquette. A follow-up email or call never hurts (after giving a day or two for the reporter to acknowledge it), but know when it’s time to move on. Also, if you do call, don’t assume the reporter or editor can drop everything and talk to you – ask if they’re on deadline, ask if you can call again, or be quick.

And lastly, be kind. This is my little rule that I live by. We’re all busy; we all have a job to do. I think it’s just as important to nurture relationships with the media as it is to just pitch them your product – you know, really understand what they appreciate and also what makes them tick. That’s the best part of our gig – to meet new people and make new friends. I’ve found that the best coverage resulted after getting to know a reporter authentically. Don’t just reach out when you need something; it’s okay to check in just to see how they’re doing. We’re all human, after all.

Oh, and when you do get the hit (or even if you don’t), always say “thanks.” The reporter likely worked hard on the story, or took the time to answer you, in between reading those 349 other pitches.