By Emily Mitchell, account coordinator
One tidbit I would hear repeatedly about going into the field of public relations is how difficult it is to “pitch.” Not pitch a 102 mile per hour fastball during the World Series, but pitch a client’s message to the media in hopes of getting a reporter to cover the story.
Some people think that sales is the only profession that requires a pitch, or that calling reporters wastes both your time and theirs. But, I have quickly learned how important one email or phone call can be and that reporters need us for news, as much as we need them to cover our clients.
Pitching press releases and advisories are by no means the most glamorous job, but it has become one of my favorite aspects of my profession. Creating, or scripting, a pitch has to be the most difficult thing for me and I continue to make mistakes because I miss the overall meaning behind the story or I simply overthink it.
It can be very easy to nail that perfect pitch but know that one grand slam can be a strike out for the next story. Like a press release, a pitch needs to be specifically tailored to the story as well as the newsroom you are sending it to. Ten different reporters need to see ten different pitches. This may seem redundant, but makes a world of difference and the end goal is to get that story published.
Ragan’s PR Daily made a post titled, “3 Crucial Steps PR Pros Should Take Before They Pitch” talks about gaining the momentum to them pick up the phone and talk to a reporter. The three steps listed are:
- Mentally pitch.
- Prepare for objections.
- Consider the timing.
I take the extra few minutes to really understand who I am going to pitch and why to learn from past mistakes and grow in media relations. This may seem scary to some, but practicing what you will say can only help you in the end. When writing a pitch through email, send your draft to a trusted co-worker or boss for a fresh perspective before hitting that “Send” button.
Creating a pitch does take time and thought, but getting a positive response from a reporter or reading your headline on the front page is a better feeling than any home run.