Don’t just pitch news, pitch a story worth telling
I’ll never forget my early public relations mentors who taught me to pitch a great story rather than pitch a news release. Public relations, like marketing and sales, has become more focused on authentic and genuine connection. Not only is it about relationships, but what you do within the confines of those relationships. Very few journalists are interested in pitches that are ho-hum. They find greater value from those who provide them with new ideas or direction, or simplify their lives. By pitching more authentically, you’re more likely to earn greater coverage. The key to pitching more authentically is weaving together an irresistible story.
- Does your pitch solve a problem? If you’ve watched or purchased a single item from an infomercial, you understand that consumers are always interested when someone offers a clever solution to a problem. Consider your clients as solution providers and create compelling stories based upon the problems their products or services solve. Does the software streamline customer service? Does the new chip technology enable more mobile and speedy handheld products? Does your client’s vegan supplement eradicate the need to take a daily vitamin? Tell the universe how your client (or its product) solves problems, and your pitch will sell itself.
- Creatively package your news. PR pros and clients often view every snippet of news as compelling (or at least newsworthy enough to warrant pitching). However, the trick is to be creative and savvy enough to develop a compelling pitch and target it to media you know will find your nugget completely alluring. Properly packaging your news is the key to delivering your story. It’s not about being cutesy; it’s about presenting news uniquely. Think of your pitch as a plain white dinner plate. At home, you fill your plate with steak, a heap of mashed potatoes and some vegetables on the side. A decent meal for sure. But, visit a restaurant and see how it positions the same steak with compound butter melting atop; mashed potatoes are decoratively piped to one side and seductively surrounded by trimmed carrots, zucchini and squash – all drizzled with a reduced wine glaze. The second meal will likely grab your attention (and hunger) more because of the way it’s presented. Spend time “decorating” your news and the media will no doubt take a bite.
- Deliver value and create connections. In an era of digital communication, it’s hard to establish relationships with the media. Being authentic means establishing trust and value. To achieve said result, PR professionals need to do their homework. Follow your key influencers on social media. Read their material. Comment when appropriate and always deliver to them a well-packaged pitch. Journalists want to report great stories. It’s in their best interest as it elevates their bylines and advances their careers. Reporters receive 100 pitches a day on average. The ones they choose to write contain all the key elements.
Storytelling is definitely an art form. And when you do it correctly, it turns an average PR pro into a genuine rock star. If you’re interested in the results of authentic PR in action, visit Axia Public Relations’ website for a quick review of recent hits today.
Wendy Bulawa Agudelo has more than 15 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and non-profit public relations. She regularly pens feature articles on parenting topics for Bay State Parent Magazine, serves on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force, is a culinary enthusiast and champion for the special needs community. Wendy has worked for Axia Public Relations since September 2014. Learn more about Wendy Bulawa Agudelo. Read Wendy's recent blog posts below.
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