Pitching is a vital skill to Public Relations professionals, as it gives reporters the full run-down of our story ideas, who our clients are and what our guiding message is through a news lens. However, simply contacting the media will not guarantee coverage for your client. You must persuade the journalist that your story idea is newsworthy, and fits within the beat of their unique coverage. As a public relations professional, it’s important to prove to journalists within the contents of your email that the client is newsworthy and deserving of coverage, whether in the form of a write up, TV segment or appearance, or an online placement.
Here are a few tips to create a click-worthy pitch that garners media for your client.
Pitches can take many forms, whether through email, a phone call or even social media channels! But don’t think these channels are interchangeable, as the channel you choose for your pitch is dependent on both individual preference and the context of the matter.
For example, formal matters must be conducted and communicated by way of more formal channels, such as email or phone, while seeking reporters to sample a client product could be communicated via social media. In addition, pitches written on clients within the Lifestyle and Consumer sectors will look and sound a lot different than pitches written on clients in a more Corporate industry. Yet, what public relations professionals must remember is, regardless of industry, each should articulately illustrate the 5W’s – Who, What, When, Where and Why – and our ultimate ask. If you are inviting someone to an event, to participate in a service offering, or to try a product, you as the Public Relations professional must emphasize and clarify exactly what your goal and your ask is within the body of the email, and to let the journalist know how to respond accordingly.
Get Creative & Ask Questions
Pitching is a skill that requires both creative thinking and persuasive communication skills.
By knowing how your story idea benefits both the reporter and the audience, streamlines the process with little to zero confusion and allows the public relations professional to develop a pitch specifically curated for the outlet and reporter, respectively.
If you’re unsure about a pitch, ask your team! Your pitching skills will improve with time, practice, and advice from your colleagues and will give you a deeper understanding of how your pitch will resonate with a reporter. You will feel more confident reaching out to reporters if you write new pitches that expand the limits of your creative comfort zone more freely, or even by asking your journalist contacts what they would like to receive to gauge and develop a further relationship with them.
Whatever you choose, don’t be afraid to ask for help or get creative with a pitch.
Follow the News Cycle
Nothing is a clearer indicator as to what you can get coverage for, and when, than the current newscycle.
Set google alerts and daily reminders to see the latest headlines on what is going on in the world, more specifically, whatever subject or umbrella your clients fall under. When working with experts in a variety of fields, closely follow the breaking news headlines, as your expert may provide insight into other topics and relevant happenings in his or her respective industry.
Know Your Client Well
The stronger of a relationship you have with your client, the easier it will be for you to be more effective in your campaign to ultimately achieve their Public Relations goals. Make sure to continue to keep up with them on new company initiatives, products, and events, as all of these updates can and will lead to new story ideas to share with your media colleagues.
By keeping that line of communication open, it will lead to a strong partnership and success.