PR professional, Katie Huffaker wrote this for PR Daily (a blog I read regularly) and I thought it was worth sharing. Even as a seasoned publicist, sometimes it’s good to be reminded of these tips. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a great pitch. A good publicist never spams a story pitch to multiple outlets. Sometimes we can spend an entire day honing the perfect story or segment idea — crafting the most polished, relevant and well-written pitches we can for you. In addition, there’s a lot of reconnaissance involved in what we do. We’ll scour their publication to make sure they have not already printed the same/similar story. We’ll do thorough research to make sure that our pitches for you are relevant and timely. But one thing we cannot do is force the media to write the story. We’ll give them all the tools they need, but no matter how brilliant the pitch may be, it is out of our control. Just a little food for thought. Enjoy Katie’s article and please share your favorite pr tips with me.
5 tips for perfecting your pitch
By Katie Huffaker
Media pitches are the foundation of good public relations. It’s crucial that public relations professionals create pitches that are newsworthy and compelling. How you pitch a story matters, from start to finish. The details matter. Make sure to implement these five components in your pitching routine:
1. Relevance, relevance, relevance.
The success of a pitch relies heavily on how relevant the content is that you’re sending to a journalist. That begins with creating a targeted media distribution list to make sure who you’re pitching to is the right fit. You wouldn’t send a story about the health care field to a journalist who writes sports stories. It’s imperative that you do your research around what types of stories a journalist usually covers so you’ll be able to write compelling news hooks.
2. Be diligent.
Journalists receive more pitches per day than they can process. They have busy schedules. If you want your story to be published, it has to be easily understandable and thorough. Your facts should be concise, correct and well written. Mistakes are unacceptable.
3. Craft compelling email subject lines.
This is your first impression, after all. What you choose as your subject line could make or break your pitch. Make it short but informative. Reporters be more inclined to learn more if they see subjects worth reading, or better yet, that are tailored specifically to them.
4. Provide suggestions.
This includes, but is definitely not limited to providing suggested talking points (usually for interviews), photo opportunities, and so forth. This step may not seem necessary for some reporters, but it does show you’re thinking ahead and contributing even further to the story idea.
5. Be personable.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure to personalize your messages and cater to what the reporter will want to know. Don’t just send the same automated message out to everyone and expect to grab that journalist’s attention. Reporters will definitely know when they get a form letter.
A couple of ways to customize the message are: using the journalist’s name and writing a quick message devoted just to them. You may even include how your story would be a fit for their publication or beat. Making that extra step to personalize your messaging is well worth the time and effort. It’s a win-win for both the media and for you, because there’s a possibility to build rapport and cultivate valuable relationships for future opportunities.
If you include these components in your daily pitching routine, you’ll increase your chances of winning the attention of the media and score successful placements for your client.