Okay, it’s time to get aca-excited because I’m giving you yet another reason to love Pitch Perfect even more than you already do (don’t fight it, we know it’s your guilty pleasure too). If you thought Anna Kendrick dazzled you with her voice, hands and plastic cup, I’m about to blow your mind with what I took away from Pitch Perfect; how to craft the perfect pitch…and it’s all thanks to that plastic cup.
Within just the past few years, public relations has moved from offline hit-and-miss targeting to a digital science, and it’s constantly evolving. We’re challenged with learning the ever-changing rules while we’re out in the field, playing the game. One bad move can hurt your brand, so it’s important to understand what’s going to make your pitch stand out from the rest. Here’s the secret to dominating your very own riff off:
U nderstand your target
S tay in touch
This is a no brainer, but it’s so important, I just can’t leave it out. You must, must be creative. “Hey, check this out…” isn’t going to cut it and your email will end up right in the trash can before it’s even opened.
You first need to grab the recipient’s attention with a catchy email subject line – be careful not to exaggerate because there’s nothing worse than telling the reader they’re going to learn about something you don’t even mention in the body of your email. My tip here: question everything. Who? What? When? Where? Why? Spin your story in a way that’s not so ordinary and you may just turn some heads. If you’re writing a great pitch, you’re going to spend some time on it, and that’s okay because it will pay off in the long run.
Tip: Come up with different pitches, run A/B tests and see which ones receive more positive responses.
UNDERSTAND YOUR REPORTER
DO…YOUR…RESEARCH! We’re looking to create a relationship with reporters, so take the time to learn about each one. What do they write about? Would they even be interested in learning about this product/service/news? Do not carpet bomb every outlet on the planet with the same, non-personalized pitch. Go find other similar articles they’ve written and reference them, but be sure to tell the reporter why your idea is different than their existing article or how it adds value to their audience.
Sometimes it may take more than a Google search, but you have to use all of your resources and tools to come up with not only the reporter at a specific publication that covers your beat, but their name and email address. If you reach out to the environmental reporter about a new iPhone case, you’re wasting your time (unless it’s eco-friendly, of course). If you call Bob by the wrong name, it doesn’t matter if he’s having a good day or a bad day, you’ve ruined your chances of not only getting your client coverage, but that entire relationship; whether it be with just Bob or the whole publication (ouch!).
Tip: Personalize your pitch. Address each reporter by name, mention their publication/articles, etc. Make them feel like you’re talking to only them – because you should be.
Take me out to the ball game, ‘cause it’s one, two, three strikes and you’re out. Yes, the song applies applies to product pitching; pitch and follow up two more times. I like to pitch and follow up within the next few days – but never on a Friday. Within the next week, follow up one final time and let the reporter know that this will be the last time you’ll be in touch, creating a sense of urgency.
When I’ve lost all hope, and am convinced reaching out one more time won’t work, I’ve been extremely surprised. Sometimes people forget. Sometimes people don’t have time. Sometimes email gets lost in the shuffle. Sometimes emails are deleted by accident. Things happen, so never lose hope and always follow up. However, if a reporter says “no” or asks to be removed from your list, don’t keep pestering them.
Tip: Think of a new pitch for each follow up, and keep your emails as short as possible.
STAY IN TOUCH
Here’s where you get to maintain the relationship. You may offer a new product in the future or attend a new event at some point, so you want the reporter to want to update their audience on what’s going on with your company or product. Reach out every so often and take care of your relationship with each individual reporter – go out of your way to make their job easier and they’ll want to work with you time and time again.
Tip: Follow reporters on Twitter, engage with them and provide assistance when possible.
At Command Partners, our expertise and experience in digital public relations have helped us secure coverage for our clients in some of the top publications in a wide range of industries including Mashable, WIRED, Engadget, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Cool Hunting, Cool Material, The Awesomer, CNet, Forbes, The Verge, Shark Tank, FOX News, Inc., The Huffington Post, MAKE Magazine, 9to5mac and more. Due to these placements, we’ve helped our clients raise nearly $3,000,000 in funding. Visit http://commandpartners.com/services/online-marketing/pr if you’re interested in learning more about Command Partners’ public relations services and what our team can do for your business.