I consider myself a seasoned pro when it comes to pitching; having spent most of my adult life begging reporters to consider stories about email software solutions and non stick frying pans (seriously). I think I’ve been told off by so many reporters and bloggers that I’ve developed calluses over my ears. For the young tadpoles that have ventured into the PR world I would like to give you some advice, I think I will call this seed of wisdom, how not to suck at pitching.
A few rules you need to remember when writing that pitch email to a reporter or blogger,
1. Spell Check – I know you are thinking, no brainer, duh. But so many of us seasoned PR folk forget to run a simple spell check and end up incorrectly spelling words like “the” and “hi.” When a blogger or reporter comes across an email like this they think you are an incompetent jerk who wasted their time. I would highly recommend having a few colleagues look over the email as well.
2. Being Too Impersonal – We are all guilty of this. Sending out that blast email that automatically programs everyone’s last name. Yes, these emails save you time and are an effective way of hitting a million mailboxes with one click but do the math – how many of those reporters/bloggers actually run the story? My guess, maybe two at most. An alternative maybe, isolating a few reporters/bloggers that you would really like to go after and writing them more personal emails.
3. Asking Reporters and Blogger to Write the Story – What I mean by this is that somewhere in your pitch you flat out ask them to write this story. In my experience, you should NEVER do that. If your story is good. They will write it. You are just emailing to inform them.
4. Not Knowing Who You Are Pitching – Don’t send a sports writer a story about baby food. It’s not cute. Don’t do it. Do your research.
5. Being Boring – Don’t be boring. I don’t care what the story is about; it could be about a new type of paint that dries faster than any other paint out there! Find an angle make it interesting and make it relevant. Also if the story is so terrible, counsel your client into not doing it. So much about being a successful PR professional is managing client expectations.
Aditi Sharma is a recent addition to the Media Relations department. She comes from a diverse PR background and brings with her a fresh new approach. She was also a finalist on the Carmen Sandiego show.