In public relations, we all know that media relations are at the heart of communication between clients and the public. Without the media, both traditional and digital, the relationships built by PR between clients and the public would be almost non-existent.
So undoubtedly, media relations are highly important, but that does not mean that it’s quick and easy to succeed at. In fact, developing a relationship with a single editor, let along an entire publication, can be an incredibly difficult feat.
The communication tactic that is used universally in public relations, in hopes of starting or continuing a conversation with the media, is pitching. Pitches are not just prominent in the PR world but also in business, engineering, journalism, science – really anything where you want to “pitch” an idea or product to someone. Pitches often take place through email, but can also happen over social media or in person. While you may be establishing initial contact with the person in question, you’re not always going to get your message across the first time around. Expect a good number of negative responses, or no response at all, before you get that positive response you’re looking for.
In a PR News report, Managing Director Stacey Jones of Accenture, said we (as PR professionals) often do not get responses back because emails seem impersonal and pitching loses a sense of human connection. Jones provided some of her tips on how to bring back that connection:
- Prepare: research the journalist to see what they write about and what topics they’re passionate towards; this allows for you to tailor your pitch toward their interests
- Meet One-on-One: attend trade shows, networking events, etc., to get face-to-face with editors and other media contacts; putting a face to the name always adds connection even if you just speak briefly
- Continue the Conversation: keep in touch with your contact(s) after you have pitched them and even after they’ve already written the article; after all, it’s all about cultivating relationships in PR
In another PR News report, Scott Dobroski, the senior director of communications at Glassdoor also agreed with Jones’ ideas adding some of his own tips to continue your pitch success.
- Write the Right Pitch: keep pitches short, to the point, and relevant; make sure you’re specific on why they should write about your product and make your contact details clear in case they need more
- Have a Good Subject Line: put the reporter’s name in the subject line followed by a short headline and your company name; believe it or not, placing their name draws more attention to the subject line which can often be crazy and confusing
As said before, pitches are always about garnering and building strong relationships between people and products. Due to the impact of pitches, it is also important to be tough minded and challenging toward both yourself and others, according to the VP of Global Communications at the Wyndham Hotel Groups, Maire Griffin. It’s okay to push your media contacts and challenge them to think if they know someone personally who would benefit from your client. This will allow them to see the potential significance of what you are trying to promote. If their answer is no, then you probably were not tough minded enough on yourself. That’s where these helpful tips, outlined above, come in handy.
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