FORMULATING PITCHES LIKE A PR PRO

Ok. You have thought about your efforts from your consumer’s point of view (this means everything down to where they shop, what they read and where they turn for inspiration). You have Identified your key outlets that could create earned media for you and built out your media list. You have been working on your brand presence (meaning your website is up to par, your social profiles look legit, and of course your product/services are on point). Now you can start your outreach.

But first and foremost, determine what makes your pitch newsworthy. Here are some things to keep in mind:

-Is your story compelling to people outside of your company? Too often employees enjoy hearing about developments that are not too exciting for those in the outside world.

-Would you read the story? Simply ask yourself: if your story were to run, would you read it? If the answer is no, don’t waste your pitch!

-Does your customer need or care about your story? If the answer is yes, proceed. But do so with caution, remembering that just because your pitch is relevant to your customer doesn’t mean it will be related to the media.

-Based on the stories the journalist you’re pitching has written recently, will they find your story relevant? As you build your media list, think carefully about every person you add. Spend time looking at the stories they have written and be honest when you ask yourself this question “will this person find this interesting, or am I wasting their time?”

Have something newsworthy? Now you are ready to pitch. Follow these steps:

Step 1.

Pick an outlet (local or regional) to align your product with. Don’t forget to utilize your current network!

Step 2.

Before you start any pitching process, make sure you do your research on each outlet and craft your individual pitch around the information you find. Curate a pitch that will best explain how you what you offer will connect with that outlet’s current readership and with the content that this outlet is already producing. GET IN WHERE YOU FIT IN! Look for outlets that already reach the consumers that you want to meet and the results will be organic.

Step 3.

Write your pitch. When crafting your pitch to editors/bloggers, here are some tips to follow:

  • Don’t forget lead times. Super, super important and something that’s ingrained in every PR professionals head. You pitch holiday in July and summer in December. Lead times can be three to six month depending on the publication. I love this pitch wheel from PR Couture when I need a refresher. Every magazine will also have an editorial calendar on their website. USE THEM! It doesn’t hurt to look at their media kits as well to learn about the demographics of their current readers.
  • Start from the bottom. While it’d be ideal for the editor-in-chief and fashion or beauty director to know about you, they’re rarely going to look at your pitch. Start with the editorial assistants and work your way up.
  • Read the publication. Seems like common sense right? The reality is it’s hard to pitch a magazine/blog you’ve never read. Don’t waste your time reaching out to publications that would never cover you. Flag articles to the editor you’ve seen them be a part of and tell them why you are relevant.
  • Ask what issue they’re working on. If you’re unsure of how far in advance an editor is working, don’t be afraid to shoot a quick note asking what issue they’re currently working on. It’s a way to spark the conversation and see if you could fit.
  • Keep it short. Editors receive hundreds and hundreds of emails a day. They won’t spend the time reading your three paragraph pitch. If you get bored after the first paragraph, you know it’s too long. Get to the point and keep it short.
  • Ask what they’re working on in general. I’ve done this several times when my pitch just isn’t getting through. A quick note asking what articles they’re currently working on or have in the pipeline while mentioning you have a product that could be a fit warrants a response.
  • Follow-up. You’re going to have to. Three to four days later shoot a quick one liner with the original email below. If you get a decline from an editor, don’t let that get you down. Reach out to them again in two to three months just to check-in and see what they’re working on. Don’t be afraid to keep the relationship going.

Crafting a pitch takes time and patience. You will be faced with many unanswered pitches. But all it takes is one press placement, and you are on your way. So try and try again! In the meantime, use this sample pitch template (SamplePitchSamleFollowUpPitch) we made just for you! So nice of us right?

Happy Pitching!