It’s finally happened – you’ve landed that dream client, and they have hefty media goals. Getting a reporter to pick up a client pitch can be one of the biggest challenges to overcome as public relations professionals. Pitching is a science, and if implemented correctly, can yield big results for you and your client. Whether you are a seasoned PR professional or new to the game, here are four common errors to avoid when pitching reporters.
Not doing the research
When you’re ready to send your press release, do you know who the best contact is? Make sure to do your research – chances are, your email won’t even be opened, much less read by a reporter if it isn’t what they cover. Take a few extra minutes to research and read recent articles (not just headlines!) by the reporter. If you’re feeling like going above and beyond, a follow on Twitter, and a little engagement can go a long way to getting your pitch noticed.
Using long, wordy pitches
Journalists receive hundreds of pitches a day. Making your pitch stand out is imperative. Using long, wordy pitches filled with fluff and jargon will get you a one-way ticket to the recycle bin. Journalists write concisely which means your pitch should also be concise and to the point. Mention your client in first sentence, succinctly describe what they do, or what the ask is, and your reason for writing. Including external sources and the opportunity to grab a quote from your client should seal the deal.
Not personalizing the pitch
Reporters can always tell when they are on the receiving end of a mass email pitch. Take the time to craft a personalized pitch to each reporter by including their name (a given!) and the name of their newspaper or radio/television station. Including a sentence mentioning a recently written article can be a great introduction. You should have connected with the reporter on twitter – right? Use that as a reference as well.
Poor spelling and grammar mistakes are the easiest mistake to avoid. You may have the best content ready and waiting for a reporter, but if there are careless mistakes, you will face rejection. Double and triple check all communications before you send on to the media outlet. Another careless mistake made by PR pros: attaching your press release instead of keeping it in the body of the email. Make it as easy as possible for the reporter to find your press release and the odds of coverage are higher.
Have you witnessed any other errors by public relations professionals? Let us know!