Despite what some would tell you, the craft of public relations (PR) is alive and well, and in many ways more critical than ever.
Gaining visibility through a compelling story presented to local or regional media outlets, is a highly sought-after approach to spreading the word about your brand and company.
Many often wonder, though, what does it take to make a good public relations pitch? We’re all looking for the kind of PR pitch that results in coverage of our announcement, whether it’s a product launch, a new building or winning an especially prestigious award.
What is a public relations pitch?
Let’s start with some of the basics. A PR pitch involves sending – using different methods sometimes – a personalized message to a member of the media that outlines the potential value of the story you want them to tell. In other words, a PR pitch explains why you think your story is worthy of being told, whether on television, radio or in a news outlet like a newspaper.
Of course, you first need to establish a target for your pitch, and that’s where maintaining a reliable and up-to-date list of media connections is critical. This is a great time to seek out help from agencies like Logos Communications that prepare and maintain these kinds of PR lists all of the time.
Once you have established who you want to speak with, or email, prepare a short summary, no more than 150 words. Remember — if you don’t want to be ignored — these pitches need to be engaging, timely and to the point. Some suggest your pitch can be a little longer, as much as 400 words, but shorter is better. Just get to the point, since journalists and media types receive hundreds of these pitches in any given week.
Press release and the PR pitch
Remember, too, that your public relations pitch can be built around a solid press release that will provide more background and explain in fuller detail what the story is about. A press release can be sent without a specific pitch, but it’s more effective to do both, especially if, for example, you have a highly time sensitive event or activity like a book launch or a store opening.
Some see press releases as outmoded. They are not. Think about it, a press release is much like content marketing in that it provides detailed information about your company and the service, product or expertise you want to be noticed by the community.
Making the public relations pitch
There are several ways to make the pitch. First let’s talk about the email PR pitch.
If you decide to make your contact through email, the standards are nearly the same as if you were to make a phone call.
Before sending the email, you might want to scout out the potential recipient on social media and make a connection. Focus on building a relationship with someone and not just trying to use them for your own goal.
So, with the email, work hard on your subject line. This is basically a “headline,” designed to grab someone’s attention. Before that, though, make sure you are sending to the right address. Sending an item to a business editor when it should go to the sports editor won’t get you far.
In the body of the email, make an effort to connect the topic to the recipient and keep it relevant to their own area of focus. Much like sending to the right person, you need to ensure that your message centers on them, and not just your need.
Like so much in life – keep it short, simple, and be authentic and sincere.
This approach holds true with a phone call pitch as well. Again, try and reach the right person, be relevant to their area of focus, grab them with a summary that’s to the point and always thank them for their time.
Below is an example of a good public relations pitch over the phone:
“Hello my name is…..do you have 2 minutes for a story pitch?”
If no – then ask, “When might be a good time to follow up?”
If yes – then give them your content (remember keep it brief, emphasize the news angle).
Finally, ask, “Is this of interest you?”
The next steps will depend on the answer. If no, move on, or perhaps try another outlet. If it’s a “yes” then make sure you’re prepared to share more information through a press release, photographs or art, contact information and more. Being ready for a “yes” is another story all together.