Pitching is the backbone of every successful PR company. Without coverage, it can be difficult to explain to your clients how you’re helping their business, so we’ve compiled some quick tips to get your client noticed in the press.
1. Get your press list together
Know who you’re pitching. Every successful media outreach campaign begins with a solid press list. Before pitching begins, prepare a day (or more) before so you’re not left scrambling around on the day. With a targeted list in hand, you can hit the phones in an organised fashion.
2. Make your pitch interesting but concise
While it’s your job to get your client in the press, a journalist is interested in getting a good story that their readers care about. Put yourself in their shoes, and think about what kind of content or story they’re looking for.
Condense your pitch concentrating on one or two of the most interesting points or angle. Journalists don’t have the time to take in a page full of information over the phone (nor are they likely to be very interested).
3. Personalise and tailor your pitch
Publications have their own niches and beats, as do journalists, so make sure you’re approaching the right people. Contrary to conventional norms, it’s socially acceptable to do a little cyber stalking here. Ask yourself these questions:
Is your story relevant to the publication?
Who do they write for? Do they freelance or write for other publications?
What’s their job title?
What’s their beat?
What are they particularly interested in?
What have they covered recently?
Have they written anything relevant to your pitch which you can tie in?
4. Be friendly and personable – It’s good to have notes to hand before you pick up the phone but resist the temptation to read your pitch out robotically. Try to inject life into your pitch – even if it does happen to be your 50thpitch already that day. If you sound bored and uninterested then why should any journalist take any interest in what you’re saying?
By establishing familiarity, they are more likely to respond in kind, and you’ll also steadily grow a network of friendly journalists who you can rely on in the future. No matter how good your pitch looks on paper, it’s useless if your delivery is falling flat.
Speak slowly and clearly, with emphasis and pauses in the right places – giving the journalist time to absorb the information and engage with what you’re saying. Make it a conversation.
5. Explain why your story matters
Make things easier for the journalist by drawing links to recent news to show them that how your story is topical or how it’s making an impact in the bigger picture.
6. Don’t take no for an answer too easily
If a journalist tells you they aren’t interested, find out why they’re saying no and offer alternative angles or entice them with briefings, product demos, or opinion pieces.
Even if you’ve exhausted all the alternatives, it’s always good to ask for feedback to allow you to better understand the journalist and what kind of story they’re looking for. You can do some digging or ask to see if there is another journalist at the publication who is likely to be interested.
7. Know your material
Put yourself in the shoes of the journalist and think about what kind of questions they’ll be likely to have and be prepared to answer.
If you’re offering survey statistics for example – know who the survey respondents are and how large sample sizes are etc.
8. Be flexible and strategic
If your pitch isn’t getting much pick up, then it may be time to change up your strategy. Take any journalist feedback on board and recoup with your team. There’s no shame in going back to the drawing board to establish a new angle.
After all, if PR was easy, anyone could do it.