Crafting the PeRfect pitch

      7 Comments on Crafting the PeRfect pitch

A note from Jeff Morosoff: Hofstra Honors Program students in my PR Fundamentals class are required to submit guest blog posts throughout the semester. For my regular post, keep scrolling after the guest column. The following is written by public relations sophomore Nathalie Salazar:

Nathalie Salazar

Nathalie Salazar

On Friday, Hofstra hosted the “PR on a Budget” conference for nonprofit organizations “struggling to move their message,” either through the media or in their own community.  The conference featured various speakers who taught how to use social media in the most cost/time effective way and gave advice on each nonprofit organizations’ problem areas.  Along with 35 nonprofits in attendance, I and several other students were there.  And I found the presentation by Jaci Clement, executive director of Fair Media Council, and David Chauvin, vice president of Zimmerman/Edelson Public Relations, very thought-engaging and idea-sparking.

Clement and Chauvin talked about pitching stories to the media, from the local to the national level. In today’s media world, journalists are being pitched hundreds of stories a day.

How will yours stand out from those hundreds?

To begin with, news is “something out of the ordinary,” said Clement.  The story PR professionals pitch must be unique and interesting. In actuality, a journalist only has about 30 seconds to hear your story, so you must set priorities, set the message, set a plan, and stick to it.  Begin your pitch with a catchy headline, avoid using words such as “fundraiser,” “conference,” and “event” (because those are everyday occurrences), and if you can, try to find a human element to your story that can connect with the audience.

Chauvin also emphasized that you “must do your homework.”  Research the reporter you are pitching to, make sure you are pitching to the correct news outlet (one that will reach the specific audience you are targeting), and when pitching, make sure the information is at your fingertips so if the reporter asks anything, you will have a quick answer.

Lastly, Clement and Chauvin explained how to make a local story into a national story.  The key to this is the human component.  Readers look for stories they can connect with and ones they could understand on a personal level.  Also, local stories can go national if it has a connection to a national trend or issue.  Keep in mind that national stories appeal to the masses.

Pitching stories is tough.  But it is also our job.

So, when writing your pitch letters, ask yourself this:  Who am I writing to?  What is unique and interesting about my story/message?  Is there a human element to the story I am pitching?  And is there a way I could connect my local story to a national issue or trend?

Your thoughts?

7 thoughts on “Crafting the PeRfect pitch

  1. Jeremy Epstein

    This is incredibly helpful. It never hurts to learn more about how to further your companies profile. As a PR professional it is your job to tout the company you work for accomplishments. Therefore this contains invaluable and important information.

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  2. jessicaxxrebello

    I am currently taking 3 PR classes this semester. At times it can be annoying because I feel that I am learning about the same things over and over again. However, in a way I enjoy it because each class compliments one other and I am able to learn about these PR techniques more than once, which helps me to continuously be reminded of them. I agree with your statement, pitching stories is very tough. Sometimes it takes me a very long time to start because I get so stumped. This blog was very helpful, especially your final paragraph when you state which questions to ask yourself when writing pitch letters.

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  3. kerry stewart

    I felt that this post was extremely informational. Many people are blind to the difficulty behind a PR persons tasks. It seems easy to just communicate to the public but as stated, one really must know to whom they are speaking. Research is key and lack thereof can single-handedly kill a company.

    Reply
  4. Julia Ryan

    I agree that pitching stories is a very important but very difficult part of a PR professional’s job. I think that the questions you raised are a good way of narrowing down the pitch to a simple and effective way to make your pitch stand out. In my internship this summer I was asked to draft a pitch for the first time. Although this was pretty difficult in the beginning I focused my pitch on a specific element of our client’s brand that I thought was unique and that the media would like to write about. They even ended up using it!

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  5. Nick Stiles

    I believe making your story stand out from the rest is essential in public relations. Connecting your stories to national issues is an easy way to get your story noticed and hopefully take it to another level. It is also important to have your audience be able to connect as they said, this is what gets the audience to care about the story.

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  6. rachelcarru2

    I believe that the greatest talent someone in PR can have is being able to connect any local story to a national issue. This technique is important because it opens up the story to a wider audience. A company’s news becoming related to a national topic makes it easier to spread word of it. Also, adding a human element feature to it would make it more relatable to the general public.

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  7. sarah elsayed

    I found this post incredibly informational. Working for an up and coming company this Summer where I wasn’t getting paid and didn’t have a budget, this seminar would’ve helped me create more success in the company’s first few weeks of running. Knowing how to make the company’s news a national topic would help in terms of production and distribution of products.

    Reply

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