4 Mistakes PR Pros Make When Pitching.. and How to Avoid Them
As PR pros, much of our days is spent pitching our franchise clients to media outlets large and small across multiple platforms. With rapidly shrinking newsrooms, reporters are busier than ever – meaning it’s extra important for public relations teams to maximize their communication time with the media. Here are four common mistakes that PR pros make when pitching – and four ways to avoid them.
Forgetting to research the reporter
We have tools such as Cision at our disposal for easy aggregation of media contacts, but it’s important to take the extra step to visit the publication’s website to ensure that the reporter, editor or producer does indeed still work there. As people switch jobs, media contact aggregators aren’t always updated, and that can mean the difference between your pitch landing in the right hands and it floating off into outer space forever. Take a moment to check out the reporter on Twitter and see what he or she is writing about – this can help you craft your pitch.
Skipping the editorial calendar
Most magazines and some alternative newspapers and sites publish an editorial calendar for the entire year – you can generally find the calendar through the site map. This will break down the topics the publication will cover for the whole year, meaning you can and should plan ahead and pitch your client for a larger feature that will likely have more pages and graphics dedicated to it – equating to more eyes on your client. The editorial calendar is a seriously underutilized tool that can be used to garner big hits for clients in print publications.
Not checking the day’s news
We’ve seen it time and time again – brands schedule social media posts days in advance, but then big news hits, and an insensitive-seeming message can cost a brand big consumer points. The same holds true for pitching – check Google News and Twitter before sending out a pitch to make sure that your reporter targets’ market isn’t experiencing breaking news. If it is, hold off on pitching until it blows over, or risk your pitching being deleted immediately.
Pitching incorrect, misspelled or irrelevant information
Before hitting send, make sure that your pitch is formatted, spelled and punctuated correctly – and that the information inside is accurate. It’s easy to keep pitching different markets using the same pitch, but it will likely need to be adapted as you change your audience. Take the extra moment to re-read your pitch before you send it on.
When pitching makes up such a large portion of the PR experience, it’s very important to do research before sending a pitch to the media – a properly crafted pitch can mean the difference between having to fight for a story and creating a meaningful, mutually beneficial relationship with a reporter that will last for years.