President’s Point: Pressing Your Luck With a Pitch
By Jamie Izaks
There are few things that are more satisfying in public relations than landing coverage from a great pitch. However, making your way past flooded inboxes, voicemails and grumpy reporters can put a damper on your efforts. In a world where attention spans are thin and patience can wear even thinner, here are a few ways to find more luck when pitching the media.
Think in headlines
Reporters have a limited amount of time in the day to read, listen and respond to pitches, so it’s important to stay on top of your game. And, most importantly, get to the point. When emailing reporters, craft an appealing subject line that you can imagine reading as the headline of your story. Keep it short, sweet and punchy – don’t be afraid to make it shocking when appropriate.
Ensure you’re personalizing the pitch in the body of the email. Highlight its key value to the reporter and his or her audience in an interesting and succinct way – again, thinking in headlines. This can help you strike gold after getting the reporter to simply open the email.
Use breaking news and pop culture to your advantage
It’s essential for PR professionals to stay up-to-date on current events and breaking news stories to understand when it’s a good time – and not a good time – to pitch certain reporters and markets. You don’t want to pitch reporters about vacation travel tips when they’re in a middle of a hurricane. While politics and weather tend to dominate the news, don’t count out pop culture as breaking news. If you can tie a connection around the latest Hollywood hit or celebrity birth announcement into your pitch, you can help it gain attention and relevant traction rather than getting buried in the pile of pitches sent to reporters each day.
Don’t forget about social media
If you feel like you’re not having any luck with email or phone pitching lately, there’s another viable option that’s right underneath your fingertips – social media. Sites like Twitter are crawling with journalists looking for sources to contribute to their next blog post or article, and when you’re searching in the right place, your pitch just might get lucky.
Pick up your cell phone or hop on the web and use hashtags to your advantage. Searching tags on Twitter such as #journorequest enables you to surf a myriad of recent requests from writers who are looking for a story you may be able pitch. This allows you to reach the journalist directly and in a setting where you already know what they’re looking for.