Slowing Down to Create Smarter Pitches

We’ve got a guest blogger this week!  Anne Isenhower (www.anneisenhower.com, www.linkedin.com/in/anneisenhower, @anneisenhower) has been a national and global media relations specialist for more than 20 years, with executive positions at GolinHarris New York, Fleishman-Hillard New York/Atlanta, and the American Cancer Society. Image

Slowing Down to Create Smarter Pitches

We’re all moving at lightning speed, but it’s important to take time to research and create the best content, write an effective pitch, research a thoughtful target media list and customize media outreach.  This will all help ensure the best pitches and the best results.

Get involved as far ahead as possible in planning a communications campaign, and educate your colleagues and your clients on which strategies will get the most media coverage – and why.

If your client can’t explain to you why something is newsworthy, then you won’t be able to explain it to journalists.  The media are your clients too, and if you lose credibility through bad pitches, you can’t be effective.

Nobody should ever blast out a mass pitch BCC’d to more than one journalist at a time – as a friend of mine said, “Every time you spam a journalist, a unicorn dies.”

It’s best to customize content into a separate pitch for each reporter.  This approach will generate the most and the best coverage and the best long-term relationships.

Take lots of time to research your media list using Cision, Google, websites, LinkedIn profiles and Twitter feeds. If your boss or your client says, “But we don’t have time to customize all of our pitches,” you can respond, “Then why should reporters take the time to listen to us?”

It’s better to research and thoughtfully pitch five reporters– through a phone call, an email, or a social media message — and have three of them say yes, than to pitch 100 and get one response.

Four Pitching Rules:

1) Be familiar with what journalists write and have covered recently.

2) Keep your pitch as short as possible.  Tell reporters what the news actually is, and you can add more details later.

3) Give a reporter as much lead time as possible, make sure you have a timely news hook, and make sure you’re catching them at a good time of day.  If you’re making an announcement on a certain date, plan to reach out several weeks ahead of that date.

4) Reporters like to write about people.  If you don’t have a human interest story to share, go find one.

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