I recently had the opportunity to handle the media for an event and was pleased to get coverage from almost a dozen media outlets. Let me share with you (and document for myself) what worked
Know the topic well.
Key to effective pitching is knowing the subject matter well. You need to be informed and engaged in order to have any hope of attracting media interest. I researched the subject and the event presenters and used Google Alerts to keep me abreast of timely developments.
Tailor the outreach list.
Armed with knowledge of the subject, be selective in choosing the media outlets to contact. If you can’t offer an angle that seems particularly well suited to an outlet, don’t bother with a generic pitch.
Develop news hooks.
Connect the story to current news, preferably local. Help the reporter understand the connection to other recent stories or developing issues locally and nationally. A fresh story that reinforces or extends previous coverage is preferable to a stand alone piece.
Email, then call.
Compose a customized email for each outlet. Start with a greeting that addresses the target by name and quickly tell him or her why your pitch is something to consider. Say that you will follow up with a call and do so. If your pitch was effective, he or she will take your call.
One size will not fit all. In addition to customizing the pitch, be flexible on the form of coverage. Some outlets may want to do an interview, others may want to attend an event and report an overview. Let each outlet run with the story in its own way. Be sure to find out from each outlet what they plan and ask how you can best support the story.