By Allie Sementelli, The Pollack Group Summer Intern
There are set do’s and don’ts when you craft a pitch to send out to the media. There are three common don’ts that can easily be avoided.
First, be truthful. Remember that whatever you say needs to be supported by substantial data. Although you may know what your audience would like to hear, do not say it if it is not true. Exaggerating your numbers to make your company, service, or product look better will eventually cause you to lose credibility.
Secondly, don’t imply that competition does not exist. There is always competition, even if not directly related. Moreover, it can give the impressions that you do not understand your market enough or that your market is just not big enough because nobody else is competing with you. It is vital to demonstrate that you know your market inside and out. Also, avoid talking negatively about your competitors. Instead, highlight the uniqueness of what you are providing and state what makes you different from the others.
Lastly, do not send out mass emails. This is the fastest way for your pitches to get sent to the trash. Editors are quick to notice when they are receiving an auto-generated message and this is an immediate turn off. Mass emails show that you have not put in the time to customize a pitch. A great idea would be to conduct research on each reporter to better understand their work so you can find relatable content. You can then provide reasons why they would be interested in what you have to offer because you have researched their usual beats.
Now that we’ve covered the don’ts of PR pitching, we can give the easiest do’s to ensure that your pitch is noticed, and hopefully even responded to.
First, you want to grab your audience’s interest by generating excitement. An excellent way is by starting off with a hook, such as a compelling question or quote, to catch their attention. Try to avoid giving a handful of facts to begin your pitch. The majority of your audience reads pitches every day, so try to create something that stands out and sparks their interest.
Secondly, get to the point. It is important to keep things clear, concise, and specific. Avoid clutter and unnecessary information and try to keep things as simple as possible. Have structure and bring up one idea at a time to stay away from creating something too complex that may confuse your audience. Remember that the reporter you’re pitching is receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of pitches a day and, while you want your pitch to stand out, if it’s too long the reporter might not bother putting in the effort to read it.
Lastly, construct an effective subject line. If reporters don’t see an appealing subject line, they will often skip the email. Therefore, it is vital to create something that immediately catches their attention. Most reporters favor subject lines that speak directly to their beat, rather than unnecessary words that they don’t have time to read. If reporters are able to identify key characteristics in the subject line, there is a higher chance that they will open the email, and hopefully give a response.
In the end, it is about knowing your subject as well as your reporter and adding a bit of creativity and personality to garner attention.