For those who toil on the front lines of media relations, it’s easy to drift into a Jim Carrey-like optimism.
PR: “What are the chances that you’ll write about this pitch?”
Journalist: “Not good”
PR: “You mean not good like one out of a hundred?”
Journalist: “I’d say more like one out of a million?”
PR: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance … Yeaaah!”
The primary reasons that journalists ignore PR pitches today is the same reason they ignored pitches 25 years ago: The pitch is generic. Worse, many PR folks don’t take the time to understand the targeted publication and think through the type of story that’s going to resonate with its audience.
PR Daily in conjuction with Muckrack conducted a webinar a couple years ago that turned the stage over to four journalists who shared how to win them over. I thought all four presentations offered fresh insights, but I want to zero in on two examples from Pete Pachal who at the time toiled at Mashable. Pete gave me the OK to share his example of a bad pitch and a good pitch.
Let’s start with the bad pitch.
OK, never good to start off with the wrong name, though to give credit where credit is due, the PR person did manage to get the first consonant right.
Moving along, the pitch never delineates the actual news and how it’s going to impact people.
“Do you even read my site, bro?” indeed.
Moving to the pitch with a fighting chance —
No question, knowing the journalist’s name gets the pitch off to a good start.
Then the pitch proceeds to call out the hard news, why it’s important and how it fits into the Mashable universe.
This is how you do it. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the company happens to be a mega brand.
Last year Mike Butcher at TechCrunch praised the following pitch for hitting the right notes — clear and to the point — with the ideal format:
Hi Mike, I am working with a company called COMPANYNAME at the moment and they have just closed a round of funding for expansion in the UK and U.S. markets (which currently account for over 50 percent of their business) that takes the total funding for the company to $XXX million. We’d love to offer TechCrunch the exclusive.
COMPANYNAME (www.COMPANYNAME.com and CrunchBase profile https://lnkd.in/dbKgZNS) has developed a powerful technology that allows businesses and professionals to easily etc.
They currently have close to 1 million clients across 70 countries and offer localized app solutions in six different languages.
Their main competitors are: • COMPETITORNAME • COMPETITORNAME • COMPETITORNAME.
The full press release is pasted below and their logo can be found here: wp-content/uploads/COMPANYNAME.png.
A few key stats — the company currently:
- Develops around X,000 apps a month
- Has increased revenues by 40 percent over the last 6 months
- Counts the U.S. and UK as its two biggest markets followed by Brazil and Italy
Your colleague Darrell Etherington covered their first round of funding in 2012. Here’s the URL …
Think like the journalist who is striving to write a story that a) the publication’s audience cares about and b) includes a unique narrative or at least an angle.
Creating a pitch that delivers on the above proposition takes time. But isn’t it logical to put time into few hand-crafted pitches likely to generate quality coverage than mass-blasting a pitch to a zillion journalists that maybe generates a handful of blurbs?