Top Three Pitch Ideas

    January 28, 2009

    I find a common misconception among those starting out in PR (or even sometimes those that have been at it for awhile) is that you should always pitch your product/service to reporters. Unfortunately, this often comes off as a glorified advertisement to the media. Back in the days when I worked freelance for a newspaper and local magazine, I would trash press kits and pitches on a daily basis because they often looked like marketing brochures. Where was the story? Mailing me a brochure for your bed and breakfast gives me nothing to work with. Sending me a pitch about unique promotions bed and breakfasts can implement to stay afloat...now we're talking. Now I have a piece on B&Bs surviving in a down economy, and will use your quotes and ideas along with photos and your contact information.

    If you're struggling to create a clever pitch, consider one of the following methods:

    The Interview Pitch

    The Interview Pitch has been my number one 'secret weapon' in getting media coverage. An interview pitch tells a reporter why you're the go-to expert in a clear and concise matter. The pitch starts with a brief introduction to grab their attention and communicate why you are qualified to appear in the media. The next portion lists 5-6 topics you can speak on (make these topics timely, fresh and exciting!). Finally wrap up with a short bio. The bio is where you can list your service or product and let it serve as a catalyst to your expertise. Also use numbers in your biography - tell how many years of experience you have, how many followers you have on your blog, how much your company has grown since inception, etc. Of course don't forget your contact information and a link to your website or online press room. No press release needed!

    The Story Pitch

    Can you tell a story surrounding your business to tug at the heartstrings? Did you overcome obstacles to achieve success? Does your product/service save lives? Were you inspired by a family member? Did you rise above tragedy? Think about the unique stories in your life and how they shaped your business. Also - if your product/service made an impact on your client, ask their permission to use the story in your pitch.

    The story pitch should begin by telling the captivating account in no more than 2-3 sentences and then quickly advising how you/your business solved this problem.

    The List Pitch 

    Flip open any magazine and you'll see 'Top 5 Ways to....' Lists are an excellent way to get media exposure. If done correctly, reporters will often take the list verbatim from your press release and use it in their article. You can also pitch tv/radio shows with lists and mention you can discuss the items in depth.

    There are dozens of additional pitch ideas, but these seem to work time and time again. Make sure you are pitching the appropriate outlets and the appropriate 'beats' (i.e. the correct section editor, producer or reporter that covers your industry). Also make sure (especially for list pitches) that they haven't recently covered that topic!

    Good luck and happy pitching!

    Read Melissa's other blog entries >

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