Communications professionals are influencers. Their job is to build and manage reputation of brands that they manage. To be able to achieve this goal, one of the things that a public relations professional frequently does, is to interact with media. The interaction takes place because of two primary reasons. One is to maintain the relationship with the media, as they are an important stakeholder for the communications business. And the other is to actively public relations pitch a story. Since it is essential for a communications consultant to prepare a good public relations pitch for the journalist, I thought of listing down the points that make for a successful public relations pitch. My thoughts are as follows:
More often than not, public relations professionals make the mistake of sending two page documents to journalists as a public relations pitch. Usually a good public relations pitch can be as short as a 10-15 line email that contains the basics of what a communications consultant is trying to say. One may send documents and attachments as a support to a pitch but a real need of such a document is found in a very few cases.
Before pitching to a journalist, one rule- Research! A communications manager has to thoroughly research the kind of work a particular journalist has done before pitching to them. Apart from knowing the basics – like the beat a journalist covers, a public relations professional must know of his/her professional interests, opinions on topics and the kind of stories they usually write. Only after knowing such details one can prepare a ‘relevant’ public relations pitch for the reporter.
The public relations pitch you are planning to share with the media must be fresh and in tandem with the current affairs. For example, if you manage communications for a research company, you must not send findings of a research that is a quarter old. A correspondent must be pitched, as soon as the information is out and fresh.
A good public relations pitch is ‘striking’- by this I do not mean you use rainbow coloured font in your email. A public relations pitch should have that one thing that strikes the cord or rings the bell. While this may not be possible in all the cases but one must strive to achieve this goal in order to contribute to a successful story.
- Newsworthy story:
Reporters are always hungry for ‘news’ and they will not cover an idea unless she or he finds it newsworthy. On an average a journalist receives up-to 50-70 emails per day from Public Relations professionals, and there is no chance for your email to stand-out unless he/she gets the big idea they are looking for.
Data is one of the catchy components that demand a correspondent’s attention. This does not mean that you fill your email with numbers even when it is not required. But one must know the art of using these numbers interestingly wherever there is a scope of narrating an interesting piece with the help of this component.
Pitching with an end-goal in mind always works. If you can imagine the end-result that will come out of that public relations pitch, the chances are that you are on a right track. Not just the headline, but a PR professional should be able to anticipate how the public relations pitch in question will finally end-up.
This is the most trivial but the most important part of a good public relations pitch. A successful media pitch is written in a simple and standard font and in one size. One may use basic formatting options line ‘bold’ ‘underline’ and ‘italics’ now and then to highlight parts of information when necessary. And almost every time using just these options is enough, anything more is generally not appreciated.
– Radhika Nandwani
Radhika is the Corporate Communications Advisor at Dell’s Performance Analytics Group. She started her career in 2011, with one of the leading public relations firms of India – MSLGROUP, specialising in technology brands. The campaigns executed by her while at MSL, have won several public relations industry awards including SABRE and PR Week Asia. In her last role, she was the founding team member and the marketing communications manager at SCoRe. Radhika is an English graduate and holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She loves reading and is passionate about gender equality, food and Bollywood. She can be reached at @RadhikaNandwani on Twitter and here on LinkedIn.