Tag Archives: Writing

The Power (and Potential) of a Pitch

12 Nov

Today, I had the privilege of attending the Hoosier PRSA Meet the Media luncheon. Our guests of honor included Indianapolis Star editors Jenny Green, Steve Berta and reporter Cathy Kightlinger. As a media relations professional, it is imperative to jump at the chance to meet members of the media, especially local contacts in your area. Our Q&A session provided me with valuable insight on how the Indianapolis Star, like many newspapers, views and works with public relations professionals. Here are just a few of the takeaways:

  • Journalists are engaging in Twitter and other social media sites to monitor trends. Be sure you are providing new and pertinent material, not just contributing noise to what is already out there.
  • Be patient. When you send a pitch, don’t follow-up 5 minutes later with a phone call. Give them a day or two.
  • Journalists are not there to publicize your clients, they capture moments and report on news. Make sure what you are offering is newsworthy and pay attention to the 7 C’s (completeness, conciseness, consideration, concreteness, clarity, courtesy, and correctness)
  • Give as many details as possible, it makes their job much easier!
  • If you are offering up an exclusive, provide information in enough time and stay true to your word. Offer up interviews and keep them updated!

After the Q&A, I had the chance to ask Cathy what makes the perfect pitch. Her response, “provide all the details in an e-mail with names spelled correctly. My inbox gets blasted w/ e-mails daily so follow-up phone calls the next day are encouraged.” She also stresses the importance of doing your research and personalizing your pitch based on what they write or have previously written.  It might sound easy, but it takes practice and diligence.

In PR, especially media relations, it is important to pitch (and yes, I’m aware some say this word is dead) journalists who will benefit from your information. How are you tailoring your pitch to meet the needs of the journalist, the publication, and it’s readers? Being respectful of journalist’s time and interests is fundamental for building mutually beneficial relationships. Position yourself as a reliable, easy to work with and thoughtful communicator. You’d be pleasantly surprised at the results.

**Check out the HoosierPRSA blog for more info. Also, huge thanks to Ed Kanis, journalism teacher at Butler University, for teaching me the fundamentals of PR Techniques.

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