The prep behind the pitch

I thought it would be interesting to end the week by touching on what has become a mantra for our agency: think like a journalist.

I thought it would be interesting to end the week by touching on what has become a mantra for our agency: think like a journalist.

It sounds so basic. Like PR 101, right? Know who you're pitching. Know the beats they cover. Respect the way they like to be contacted. But how many of us are really tailoring the information we send out on behalf of our clients to ensure that the message is reaching – and resonating – with the right person?

The answer is, not enough of us.

When entire blogs are dedicated to exposing the worst of the worst in terms of PR pitches – a la The Bad Pitch Blog – you know the problem is prevalent enough to warrant an intervention.

Consider this your wake-up call. Don't let yourselves become a punchline due to lack of preparation. Here are a few rules of thumb to keep top of mind when prepping to pitch:

Quality over quantity. Create a “wish list” of the top media outlets most relevant to your client and become an expert on what they cover, who's writing for them, and where your client would fit in best.

Customize. Can anyone really tell me with a straight face that blanket pitching has resulted in significant results? I thought so. Personalize your pitching by tailoring it to the media outlet, section, and journalist you are sending it to.

Be a resource. Become a trusted resource for media by providing them with accurate, complete, compelling, and timely information – every time.

Create a “trend." It's rare that a single product or destination gets a feature entirely dedicated to them. Help your media friends out and develop “round-up” releases outlining topics and trends geared to their beats to enhance chances of potential coverage.  

Be responsive. Answer their calls. Respond to their emails. Get them their answers. Quickly. Don't make them chase you.

Chill out. Act nice. Work hard. Don't be annoying. The reality is if they are interested in your pitch, they will get in touch with you.

Kim Julin Guyader is a founding partner of J Public Relations.

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