We both get lots of pitches from PR people: most of them are missing something. In this and subsequent episodes, we take the time to review what makes a great PR pitch and provide examples of both.
A great pitch should have the following elements:
- Doesn’t pester us for a response. When you don’t hear from us, that means we aren’t interested. Yes, this new fangled email thing is actually working, delivering your missives to us.
- Knows when to ask us for a meeting and more importantly, when not to ask.
- When you have a meeting, support it with a confirmation, background materials, and being on time.
- Speaking of materials, no death by PPT: stick to the fewest possible slides.
- Doesn’t take too long to get to the point: the briefer the pitch, the better.
- And provide graphics/video and URLs that we can directly consume in our article.
Paul’s favorite PR person is Beth Winkowski. David’s is Amber Rowland. Both are great at their jobs and we have known for decades, and when we get an email from them usually there is a good reason, and a story ensues.
Some other tips:
Avoid meaningless superlatives. Don’t include them on general principle, and certainly don’t use them if some product isn’t the first, the best, the only. We do check, and that pisses us off. Angle a pitch toward the audience.
Keep your pitches short, 100-200 words tops. The shorter, the more likely they will be read. You don’t have to include the entire press release, if we are interested, we will ask for more.
Understand what an embargo is, and how to use it. We got one pitch that said “EMBARGOED FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.” Um, that doesn’t make any sense. A request for embargo should first ask the journalist to agree to a specific date and time. Once that is accepted, the next email should include all the information that’s being embargoed and the date and time that the embargo lifts. The information should also include a URL that goes live after the embargo lifts.
Don’t pretend to know us if you don’t. Fake flattery will backfire. Yes, read our clips, but don’t say “I’m writing with regard to an informative article you wrote on …” That just gets us mad.
Build a relationship. The best PR people know that they will be around a long time, and start a relationship that can last decades.
David has a slide deck here that is worth reviewing on how to get the best trade press product reviews that touches on these points.