When The Pitch-tables Turn: A PR Pro Gets Her First Media Pitch!
This past week, I squealed with glee as I checked the email for my comedy podcast, talk•fool•ery (Warning: almost every episode is NSFW, but the toons are safe). For the first time ever, this little podcast received pitches from PR pros. I had never been on the receiving end of a media pitch before!
As the excitement waned I realized: these PR pros had never even listened to our podcast. Their pitches were not relevant to our irreverent style, at all. Only one of the several pitches came close to being a fit for us.
It made me think of Gawker’s PR Dummies (I had wondered where off-topic PR pitches came from). My media relations mentors have drilled into my head: know your outlet, research your media contact, know their coverage style and beat.
I’m not here to make fun of any of the PR pros who sent us pitches—it’s your job, I get it—I am here to kindly suggest every PR pro follow a few simple rules:
• As suggested by Regan Lal, research the reporter and outlet: Journalists are changing beats all the time, so do your homework and know where they are now.
• Make sure your pitch suits the reporter’s style: if they’re a tech reporter, but only cover hardware, don’t send them pitches on a website or a new software launch.
• Don’t do mass emails: reporters can see if you’ve just bcc’ed them. It’s a dead-giveaway when the pitch doesn’t include their name, their outlet / segment name, or anything else to personalize the pitch. So personalize—they’ll notice and appreciate it.
• Keep it short! Attention spans are shrinking. Communications professionals’ job is to tell our client’s story and keep the recipient’s attention. A great PR pro can craft a compelling media pitch in three (short) paragraphs. Make this your goal.
There are a million different styles for your media pitching, but these basics will get you going.
And if you think it fits talk•fool•ery email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll let you know.