Pitching a story: PR professionals

Angie Moxham: MD, 3 Monkeys
Angie Moxham: MD, 3 Monkeys

JUNIOR

Rosie Warin, account executive, Forster

How important is pitching?

Bad pitching can kill even the strongest campaigns. Having experienced it first-hand, it continually baffles me that in some agencies pitching is left entirely to junior executives.

Who should do it?

Executives should hear account managers and directors pitching confidently. They should then earn the right to pitch to key journalists by selling the story in to minor publications.

What is a definite no-no?

Inappropriate, ill-informed or badly timed phone calls by juniors usually result in a toilet full of tearful, demotivated PR execs.

What was your worst ever pitch?

I emailed a journalist and his editor with a story and then rang the journalist. He was very rude about the quality of the story, but his editor ran it independently. Subsequently, the journalist called me furiously claiming that I had gone behind his back.

What is the secret of a successful pitch?

Tailoring each conversation to the journalist, the slot, and the publication's demographic.

SENIOR

Angie Moxham, MD, 3 Monkeys Communications

How important is pitching?

We believe in good old-fashioned media contact and I personally still meet journalists to sell in stories. Once we even managed to get research for a client asked as a question on University Challenge.

Who should deliver pitches?

If it is a strong product and you are simply alerting the media to it, then juniors can deal with it. However, if it is for more complex stories, it needs to be handled by senior people.

What is a definite no-no?

I remember when I was a radio journalist that PR professionals would send me photos of spokespeople. What was the point of that?

What is the secret of a successful pitch?

The trick is to get into the journalist's shoes, to remember that they have to go and sell the idea to their editor. So, know their publication inside out. Even magazines that look similar on the inside have very different needs. We are also increasingly making use of video content.

Pitching a story - have I got a story for you

Journalists' view

Top tips on pitching sucess

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