Regine J. Nelson
you think you have what it takes to pitch in the Major League?
Time after time journalists and
bloggers send out rants about horrible pitches that they've
received from PR professionals and posers (those who think they
are equipped enough to go after the media without any training).
The art of media pitching is equivalent to that of a sommelier's
perfect pairing of a 1976 Montelena Chardonnay with Steamed
Mussels prepared with White Wine, Tarragon, Shallots, Butter,
and Grilled French Bread (a recipe from Chef Bobby Flay). While
a sommelier may hone his/her skills at a fine restaurant, a PR
professional's job is to hone their skills by pitching their
Sommeliers make a living pairing wines with foods that bring out
the essence of each flavor. PR professionals are no different;
we pair our client’s products and services with publications and
media outlets that serve a readership who find value in their
content. Thus, the trick to a perfect pitch is crafting a
message to reader that displays a profound understanding of that
publication's value and their audience's essence.
Six Tips for the Perfect Pitch
Being a great media pitcher isn't about knowing every editor,
blogger and reporter in the universe. It's about pairing your
client's product/service pitch to the right media contact.
After all, a publication isn't going to write an article on your
client, but a reporter may.
• KISS, Keep it simple
silly! You may have heard this before. I highly
recommend (as do other PR pros and media personnel) to keep your
pitches short and sweet. You can accomplish this by
incorporating bullet points of no more than 15 words each after
your initial paragraph. I know it's tempting to send a 500 word
email pitch because you want to include every detail, but don't.
A pitch is meant it entice a journalist and spark their interest
not put them to sleep.
• Proofread your pitches
before you send them out. As a practice, I draft my
pitches a day before I plan to send them out. Allowing the pitch
to rest overnight provides enough time away from the document in
order to review with it with fresh eyes the following day.
• Tap into your inner creativity. Too many
pitches are just self-promoting commentary that rarely solve a
problem. If you can creatively tie your pitch to a current event
in a creative way your pitch will go much further. Feel free to
make references to books, popular books, celebrities, etc.
• Send your pitch to the best person. Locating
the correct media contact for your pitch is relatively easy
these days. If you are interested in submitting a pitch to a
particular publication you can visit their website or pick-up a
copy if they are in-print. There are paid services available
such as Cision, Burrelle's Luce, Vocus, and MyMediaInfo.
• To call or not to call. Media professionals
are now available at any time, yet they prefer email and social
media pitches over phone calls. While their 24/7 availability
may seem like a godsend for PR professionals, you have to
remember that the media are people too. Like you, they have
deadlines, families, issues and vacations. If you can avoid
calling at inappropriate times and calling and/or emailing to
ask if they have received your pitch, believe me it would be in
your best interest.
• Editorial calendars are your best friend.
They let you know when and what your intended publication will
be writing about for an entire year. Feel free to use them to
target your pitches.
Regine J. Nelson is founder and principal of
Allure Marketing Communications. Regine has over 8 years of
experience as a PR and social media strategist. Allure
specializes in small business, consumer products, nonprofit and
start-up PR. Email
for a free consultation.
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