Blog — The Snow Report

Doing Your Pitch Homework

Posted on May 11, 2012 by

This is Part 2 in a five-part series titled The Art of the Pitch. Part 1, Four Factors That Make for an Ideal Pitch, can be found here.

Know the Subject

In order to create an effective media pitch, a PR practitioner should know the industry well enough to know why this particular pitch is relevant.

“This could have a major impact on the industry” by itself is probably the biggest cop-out you can have in a media pitch. It suggests that the PR person hasn’t done enough research to know what impact, if any, there might actually be. Show, don’t tell, is a common theme used by journalists, and it should apply just as well for PR practitioners. Does the story you’re suggesting change legal precedent? Make us safer? Provide a new or better service to society? Improve upon an existing product in a meaningful way? General platitudes about “impact,” “shakeup”, and “trends”, without explanation or elaboration, will get you nowhere.

Know the Media

It’s not enough to know the industry – you’ve got to know the media that covers that industry. What outlets have covered this subject before? Which ones have done the best job? Is there a specific beat reporter, or should you go through an assignment editor?

Some publications allow contributed articles; some do not. Some have daily deadlines; others plan stories for weeks or more. Has the story you’re pitching been covered to death already? These are highly relevant details that should help shape your outreach.

Know the Journalist

Part of the PR professional’s job is to put him or herself in the shoes of the journalist. Make sure you’ve got the right contact before firing off that email. Try to avoid the “shotgun” approach in which you simply replace the name at the top and blast out a pitch to 100 people. Have they covered this issue or service before?

Customize. Empathize. Humanize. This approach may take longer, but it will likely yield better results.

Part 3 of The Art of the Pitch will be posted next week, in which we’ll discuss “Crafting the Pitch”.

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