Media Pitching: The Delicate Dance With The Nigerian Media


In this article, Esther Adeyanju, a Public Relations (PR) expert, delves into the multifaceted nature of media interactions in the country, offering insightful solutions for successfully navigating the art of pitching to this dynamic and diverse media environment. Her analysis centres around the challenges that PR professionals and communicators face when engaging with the Nigerian media. Recognizing the unique characteristics and idiosyncrasies of this vibrant media scene, she artfully identifies key strategies to effectively engage and collaborate with media outlets, journalists, and platforms.

Let’s face it: pitching to Nigerian media outlets can feel like scaling a mountain as a Public relations consultant. In the field of public relations, a significant portion of the narratives we push forward have promotional undertones, be it for product promotion, addressing a brand crisis, or molding perceptions. However, such narratives often come across as overtly promotional to the media. Consequently, our pitches frequently go unnoticed or trashed in the virtual bin. Many PR strategists, including myself, grapple with this challenge, particularly when there is no allocated budget for the story we’re trying to syndicate. I have often found myself on both ends of calls, seeking and being sought for media connections that might assist in featuring a story in print or digital outlets, despite the lack of funding for such pieces. Balancing the promotional content with genuine newsworthiness in these narratives remains a continuous endeavor.

Brands, naturally, emphasize their products by pushing their promotional narratives to the extreme. Media houses, however, gravitate towards unbiased, non-promotional stories for pitches. The challenge then is: how do we walk this tightrope and ensure our pitch resonates, rather than ends up in the virtual trash bin or ignored?

While some journalists might expect compensation due to industry challenges, there are tactics I have found invaluable in my pitching journey:

Highlight the Newsworthy Element: This often involves reaching out directly to the desk editor, emphasizing the most compelling parts of my story to catch the journalist’s attention. I have come to appreciate the impact of an attention-grabbing email subject and a captivating headline that incites curiosity. 

Story’s Significance: I emphasize the story’s relevance and the urgency of its publication, detailing these points in the body of my email. 

In conversations with few journalists, I delved into their perspectives on how PR consultants present stories to them. An enlightening response that echoed across the board was that at times, PR consultants struggle to effectively convey the story’s significance, leading to a sense of confusion. Moreover, a common sentiment emerged: many stories submitted lean heavily towards PR without a compelling newsworthy angle. 

Hence, it becomes imperative for PR consultants to eloquently elucidate the story’s importance within the body of the mail. This approach not only clarifies the narrative’s value but also accentuates its relevance. Most importantly, it is essential to remember that a captivating story seldom goes unnoticed by journalists.

Narrative Structure: When writing the story, you intend to pitch to the media, begin with the most newsworthy aspects, ensuring the core message captures attention, before seamlessly transitioning into the brand’s achievements and offerings. 

Sometimes, nurtured relationships with media platforms allow for more ease in story submissions and eventual publication. Every PR consultant should prioritize cultivating strong relationships with the media. They are instrumental in broadcasting your strategic messages and ideas. 

All these strategies (though few) have, more often than not, yielded positive outcomes for me. The truth is no journalist will ignore a good story like this one. However, I’m keen to glean insights from this community. What is your strategy when pitching to the Nigerian media? Please share your insights and experiences with me via email. 

Esther Adeyanju is a seasoned Public Relations consultant, with background in PR strategy, media engagement, content creation, digital marketing, and research. She can be reached at [email protected]

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