PR Fish Bowl

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5 Ways To Kill A PR Pitch

StakeThe PR pressure is on. An announcement is imminent and the task of generating media coverage is in the capable hands of the seasoned PR team. They have written a solid press release and created professional, individualized approaches to a short list of meticulously researched media.

Now it’s go time. For the best possible outcome, avoid these five pitch-killers.

Getting the details wrong. Should be obvious, but a little pre-pitch fact-checking is vital. It’s also wise to verify that that your media contact didn’t just cover something similar, or that his/her beat hasn’t changed. Pitches are also doomed by misspelled names, wrong salutations, or telltale font changes.

Overhyping with meaningless words.  Game-changing! Fantastic! Unique! Maybe, but most likely not. It’s best to tell a brief, factual story to illustrate what’s being pitched and include verifiable data and links to “hot-topic” news to create relevance.

Complicating the story. Let’s respect the busy, world-weary journalist who has seen it all by keeping it simple. It’s best to excise the extraneous from the pitch and provide one concise (under 200 words) and compelling reason to respond.

Striking a false -or demanding -note. An overly cheery “Hey Randy, hope you had swell weekend, we think this would be a great profile piece,” is likely to be very off-putting. We can raise our game by referencing a past connection that had a successful outcome or a previous story – but only if relevant, not arrogant or sycophantic.

Being too needy. Begging is the flip side of demanding.  Albert Brooks famously said in the movie Broadcast News, “Wouldn’t this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If ‘needy’ were a turn-on?” Well, they’re not. Rather than conveying how much you need a story, convey what a newsworthy idea is on offer. It’s a subtle shift in presentation but a worthwhile one in outcome.

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