Public relations is about so much more than just sending the occasional press release. A proactive PR pitching strategy is the single best way to secure positive coverage for your business, but you have to have the right approach. If you have a great story to tell the media, here’s how to make the most out of that one pitch.
It’s easy to get in the weeds while telling your story to a reporter. Often our instinct is to over-explain and elaborate, especially if we think it’s an excellent story, but a great PR pitch will contain just enough information for a reporter to bite and want to learn more. Save the details for when the story is secured and the interview process begins. Don’t force feed and overwhelm the reporter before you even secure the hit.
Think about all of the tasks you handle in a single day. Like you, journalists are busy people, often turning multiple stories and packages the same day. Make your pitch highly digestible and easy to read. Bold, italicize or highlight key points or sexy facts and utilize bullet pointed lists when paragraphs become too wordy.
A journalist’s inbox is flooded with dozens of PR pitches every single day. A reporter should be able to glance at your pitch email and understand the story you’re pitching in a matter of seconds. Respecting the journalist’s time will help you stand out in a sea of hard-to-understand pitches and you will become a go-to resource for easy-to-execute stories.
So you have a great pitch, but how will you make the story easy to report? Whether you’re pitching TV, print, online or radio, spell out the elements and assets you have on hand to make the story as appealing to the outlet as possible.
For instance, if your restaurant is opening its doors in the next week, do you have excellent photos of dishes on your new restaurant menu? Put a Google Drive or Dropbox link in your print pitch to show the reporter what they can show their readers. Can your chef build a highly elaborate seafood tower while wearing a lobster costume for that on-site live TV cooking segment? Tell the producer what interactive, visual elements you can contribute to the live hit. Ultimately both outlets are telling the same story from the same pitch, but they will have a better idea of how it translates to their particular medium.
Sending one pitch with dozens of reporters, editors and producers BCC’ed will often translate to very few hits, unless that pitch is relevant to all of the outlets in virtually the same way. We call this method “spray and pray,” and it can be used strategically if additional reporting is not necessary. Is your nonprofit hosting a fundraiser at the local coffee shop tomorrow morning? “Spray and pray” the info and visuals to outlets that can spread the word quickly. These informational pitches will often be picked up for TV mentions or online hits, even if a formal interview isn’t secured.
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” told us that a human’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Similarly, it’s worth addressing the reporter, editor or producer by name, even if the pitch is the same as what you sent to another outlet. If you know that journalist has a specific interest in your pitch’s subject matter, personalize your approach by saying you thought of them specifically for that story. Ultimately public relations is human relations. Be personable and don’t take a robotic approach to your pitch.
The perfect pitch is nothing without the ideal audience. If you want to reach the right reporters and level up your public relations approach in 2021, reach out to The James Agency to discuss your PR needs.