The Art of The Tailored Pitch
Our main goal as public relations professionals is to secure media coverage for clients, but with the rise of technology over the years and the 24-hours news cycle, members of the media are busier than ever. It’s unfortunately become increasingly harder to grab the media’s attention.
For every journalist, there are about six public relations professionals sending pitches, which can add up to almost 300 emails a day. Now, more than ever, it’s important to not only build relationships with the media, but ensure pitches are attention-grabbing.
When trying to secure impactful coverage for clients, generic, impersonalized pitches won’t get you very far. Learning the skill of pitching and finding the right contacts comes with practice. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way of mastering the art of a tailored pitch, there are a few methods that can help garner media attention and secure successful outcomes:
- Research is key: Blindly pitching is not only ineffective, but it could land a PR professional on a “Today in Bad PR Pitches” social media or blog roundup. There’s also the possibility of being completely ignored. Know who the writer is, what type of stories he/she/they write and make sure the topic specifically fits the journalist. Go back at least one year into the writer’s history to see what’s been covered. Although tedious, the writer will appreciate the time taken out to read their content.
- It’s all in the subject line: With the amount of emails writers and editors receive, it’s best to make sure your subject line is short, catchy and to the point. Following up? State that. Reaching out to a freelance writer to cover a story for a specific publication? Call the publication out in the subject line. If a subject line is misleading or unclear, the chances of your email getting passed over is more likely.
- Get personal: The use of automated email services makes it easier to mass blast. The convenience of sending a generic, impersonal pitch to a full list of editors is attractive when a person’s to-do list is (what feels like) 10 pages long. It may seem like a time saver, but sending a mass blasted email won’t secure quality results. Highlight pieces of content written by the targeted journalist in a pitch. Doing this will 1) show the writer that you did your homework and 2) offer back up as to WHY the journalist should consider this story. Consider this approach: “Hey [Insert Journalist’s Name Here] – I read your story on XYZ (don’t just state the title; call something out that isn’t found in the first few sentences) and I’m reaching out to see if you’d be interested in covering XYZ.
- Offer valuable, concise information: Adding too much information can have the same effect as a poorly tailored pitch. When pitching, be sure the email contains valuable information that’s easily readable. Writers will reach out for additional details if they’re interested in pursuing a story. If a journalist has to search to find the pitch’s main point, it’ll be discarded or ignored.
There isn’t an exact science to gaining media coverage, but taking a few extra steps to perfect your pitches can assist with breaking through journalists’ inundated inboxes. At the end of the day, clients want quality media coverage and journalists want their content read. A tailored and personalized pitch can result in a successful campaign outcome.
Jessie Koerner is a Senior Account Executive in Mulberry’s Chicago office with a deep passion for media relations and content creation for numerous B2B clients.