Best PR Pitching Tactics

By: MJ Pedone – December 2013

Public Relations is about more than just sending a bunch of email pitches to reporters and hoping to score coverage for your clients. A good publicist will think creatively about their outreach process and use their resources to get the job done.

As someone who has been a publicist for many years and who has many friends who are on the media side of the business, I have been privy to the many great and not so great stories about publicists and their PR tactics or lack their of. I totally get why so many reporters are quick to hit the delete key and are just fed up with so many of the PR professionals.

Here is my list of PR pitching tactics that I like to use and find very helpful:

Build Your Own Media List

Even if you are a senior level publicist and have others below you creating the lists, you should be hands on so you are certain who you are pitching and what they cover. In doing so, you will be able to personalize your pitch.

Media Tools

Using online media directories such as Cision and Vocus will help you identify and create your targeted media list. This will ensure that your customized media list will have you pitching the targeted journalists and in doing so, this will increase the success rate of your media placement.

Additional Research

While Cision and Vocus can help you identify the media, I suggest you google each of the journalist to read about some of their past articles that they have written about. You can also go to their blog site in order to read their posts, bio and how they like to receive their pitches.

Don’t Spam

Never send the same exact pitch to hundreds of journalists. If you want to get a reporter’s attention, show interest in their past articles and customize your pitch to what they cover.

Follow Ups

If you haven’t heard from a reporter, consider following up. I would send a personalized follow-up within 5 days and if you still don’t receive a reply, move on.

Build Relationships 

The best way to be successful in PR is by building relationships with the media members. It is important to follow them on Twitter and Facebook and respond to their tweets/posts on occasion. Send them an email to tell them you read their latest article and how interesting you found it.  Not every interaction with the media has to be about pitching them. They’ll reciprocate when your story and timing is right.

Understand Lead Times

Online publications, blogs, magazines and TV programs work on a longer lead-time. It’s likely a magazine is planning holiday coverage in July, a producer is booking December holiday segments in September and a blogger is writing out about December in October. Give the media members ample time to read and digest your news and it will show them that you understand the lead times they work off of.

Pitch Via Social Media Respectably

Nothing will make a journalist hit the delete or unfollow button faster than if they see that your Twitter feed is full of @reply pitches to others with the exact same 140-character pitch. You are better off customizing a social pitch and not duplicating them as this is a better way to get a reporter to reply.

What other PR pitching tactics do you engage? We welcome any thoughts you may have and as always, if you like what you read, be social and share.

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