Thought Leadership

How to pitch media so they actually LIKE it

Today I read through a bunch of tweets from journalists complaining about PR.

PR people have given pitching a bad name. Because at its core, pitching is simply getting a solution to a problem into the hands of people with that problem.

The problem? Journalists and bloggers are starving for fresh facts and ideas to share with their audiences.  The complicating factor: so many people rush to say “pick me!” that the good ideas can get drowned out unless presented with special skill.

If you retain that frame of mind, pitching is a pretty noble and valuable pursuit. That is why it pays well for those who excel at it. Problem solving usually pays well. The more expensive and painful the problem, the better the compensation for solving it.

Except somewhere, things took a turn for the worse. As is true with the majority of industries, disciplines and professions, MOST of the people in PR perform at a mediocre level. Which means they pitch in a way that bludgeons poor journalists over the head with the PR person’s priorities and forgets to put the interests of the journalist FIRST.

If you’re in pitching mode and all you can think about is “getting the hit,” you’re going to lose. It may not be today or tomorrow. But eventually, people will tire of feeling “used” so you can make a dollar.

Flip around your viewfinder and start looking from journalists’ direction towards you.

Your pitch stands out when your targets have the right information about what you do and why it’s valuable to them. They understand why you’re different. And they are in an environment where they’re not scared to death to engage you, because they know you’ll continue to provide only value and respect their time.

This is a tall order. And trying to satisfy all of these conditions in a SINGLE shot (or even three) is very difficult. People are too skeptical, too cynical. They’ve been burned and let down far too many times to believe you just because you seem sharp and considerate.

You must prove it. You must earn it.

The journalist-first approach builds trust. It sets you apart from all the other PR “flacks” the journalists complain about on Twitter. You earn the coveted title of “source.”

And everything is easier then.

We at PRSA want to give you a holiday gift – we’ve asked Michael to share some of his best media pitching tips via short (two-minute) videos here.

And we are pleased to announce we’re offering Michael’s new online course, Crafting the Perfect Pitch, with a special introductory discount. Save $100 before Dec. 16, 2016.

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Michael Smart

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