Thirty seconds or less is what a PR professional usually gets to impress a journalist with the right pitch on a phone call. Now how you manage to impress them and get them hooked on to the story in those crucial 30 seconds determines the credibility of your pitch. The ‘pitch’ and ‘how’ you pitch that ‘pitch’ play a very important role in the outcome of the call and whether you bagged the story for your client or not.
Imagine being given a few minutes to tell everything interesting about your client to a media person so that they are hooked on and will be persuaded to ask for more. Impossible right? We agree. Hence a perfect pitch becomes a holy grail for the PR pros. Only practice can make your pitch perfect. Here are some tips that will help you perfect it !
Make Different Pitches |
What gets boring is when you use the same pitch for all diagonals in the industry. Your pitch should change according to the media vertical you are pitching to. An entertainment daily cannot understand your financial pitch and so on. And a health daily cannot understand your fashion pitch. Tweak it to appeal to the journalist and the publication’s readers.
Pitch Worthy Information |
No media person will be interested in just another collection that your client is introducing in the market. It should have certain relevance and also some amount of uniqueness that is new to the industry they are in. Find a relevance to the story – season, new-ness, innovation, breakthroughs, colors, sparkles, bubbles! It should address the question … Is this worth writing about? Be brutally honest when you are answering it. If you are not satisfied then add to it till you can in all honesty answer this with confidence. Once you re convinced then it will be easy for you to convince others!
Research Well |
Be well informed about the company and the industry you are pitching on. Be ready to be cross examined. Like you prepare your client for an interview you should also be ready with answers on the pitch. Make sure that your pitch sounds interesting enough for a whole story and not just a snippet. This will depend on the amount of research you do on the subject.
Should Spark Curiosity |
Have an interesting opening line to your pitch ! Something that will ignite the journalist’s curiosity and help them focus on one aspect that they can connect to. Don’t try and punch in everything that you want in one pitch. It will come across garbled, confused and frankly you will not have enough time to make it…the journalist would have hung up or excused him/herself from the call long before you even got to the exciting part of your pitch. Pick one aspect of your client that you think is most relevant to that publication to talk about. Once you have identified that …then add an interesting opening line to it.
Be clear and conscience. Know who you are pitching to and for what column / segment you think the story are you pitching for and why you think this will make a great story for the journalist and the readers to take their time out for.
Be Truthful |
Be sure in the eagerness of making your pitch more engaging that you are not passing on any wrong information to the journo. The information at hand needs to be correct and factual. This will backfire immediately.
Personalize ! Personalize ! Personalize !
Make it as specific as possible. Once you have identified the media medium, vertical, publication and column … go another mile and find the right journalist and tweak the story down to his/her personal liking. If you know the journalist likes music on a personal level even though s/he writes on finance…then s/he is the perfect choice for you to write on a story on the business of music. Personalise the pitch to be as specific as possible.
Test It Out |
Never pitch directly to the media once you have finalized a pitch. Review it with your colleagues and read it out to them so that you can re-frame it and work on the weak spots. Also it will be easier to accept positive and constructive criticism from your friends rather than goof up at showtime !
Call When It Is Convenient For The Journalist |
Yes … we all have client pressures but if you have done all the above homework and call the journalist at the wrong time … then you can kiss your story goodbye ! Call at a time that is convenient to the journalist … Not you or your client !