The fine art of writing and pitching a story to impress upon another is often something that PR professionals spend years perfecting through research and relationship building. While there may not be any hard and fast rules that apply, there are some basic do’s and don’ts.
This article oversees the techniques of writing a PR pitch, the common obstacles and pitfalls and offers suggestions to avoid them.
Techniques for crafting a better PR pitch
Essentially, we all want the same thing: for our stories to sell. While the ways to go about achieving that are certainly inexhaustive, here are some techniques to keep in mind:
Knowing your audience
A good PR pitch is one that is conscientious of its audience. It should be tailored to both the backgrounds of the journalist being pitched and that of the larger media platform they work for.
You can have the greatest pitch in the world, but if it doesn’t align with the journalist’s beat (the types of content they cover), or speak to the readership of the targeted platform, then it will not be of any value. In truth, it will only highlight that you have sent out mass email distributions and haven’t been doing the appropriate legwork or research. While it might not always be realistic or feasible, making your pitch topical and relevant to the recipient whenever possible will lend you a definite edge.
One of the research done shows that journalists only respond to 3.27% of the pitches they receive. Do keep in mind when you are writing a PR pitch that the journalists are able to see through generic pitches. so remember to tailor your writing to suit their interest.
Read more: Here are some key statistics of pr in 2022.
A snappy introduction
Contrary to popular belief, it is okay to be clickbaity — sometimes. Starting from the subject line, your introduction has to be so attention-grabbing that the dreaded ‘delete’ button doesn’t get hit before the email has even been opened. This does not necessarily mean dressing it up with cliches or puns — you need to summarise your story as succinctly as possible. Additionally, do not dwell on self-introductions; the faster you get to the story, the better.
For instance, take a look at Airbnb’s pitch. The biggest takeaway is that their intro is all about “the hook”! You need to describe your business with as few words as possible. Try telling a middle schooler what your business is about. If you are unable to do so, perhaps you should rethink your intro to your investors. Peppering your pitch with statistics and concrete facts is another way to make it engaging.
Research shows that 94% of the PR pros are writing a pr pitch that’s under 300 words. Logically, your introduction cannot be too long as there are not many words to spare. Help yourself out by keeping the pitches short to give the journalists a better time while reading your pitch.
Use storytelling conventions
Applying traditional storytelling conventions to your PR pitch (just like an author would apply them to their novel) provides readers with a familiar structure, which may help them absorb the details of your story better or experience an unidentifiable familiarity.
Most importantly, storytelling conventions give you the structure to create your PR pitch. This is a time-saving and efficient method since you start with a cohesive structure that you know is easily digestible. From there, you can simply fill in the various elements of the story structure with information specific to your brand, completing the story.
Furthermore, 72% of the PR professionals believe that storytelling is crucial for PR. This belief comes from the fact that stories can connect more to the audience as a personal, genuine and long-lasting impact can be created through storytelling. Thus, when writing a PR pitch, remember to keep your narrative relatable and interesting to generate more impact on the audience. For more information on this, you can refer to our previous blog article on how storytelling conventions can be used in writing an effective PR pitch.
Optimize the delivery of your pitch
While many might send pitches as soon as they have completed them to quicken the PR process, it will be helpful to grasp the prime time of sending pitches and doing follow-ups. According to the statistics in 2021, more than half of the journalists prefer to receive pitches between 5 am and 12 am. Monday is also their favourite day to receive pitches, followed by Tuesday.
Most journalists prefer to have follow-ups done once and within one week of the first email. Do try to abide by these timings and frequency to optimize the delivery of your pitch. To make up for the effort you have put in while writing a PR pitch, fabricate the best scenario in sending your pitches for a better result.
Common obstacles and pitfalls
According to Fractl, 57% of top-tier publishers receive between 50 and 500 pitches per week. At the same time, 7 out of 10 writers and editors write only one story per day. To be distinguished from the masses and deliver a winning pitch, PR professionals need to not only identify effective strategies but also avoid some of the common obstacles while writing a PR pitch.
This point ties back to that of personalizing your pitch. Emails that are clearly sent to a list of other reporters and appear as a generic press pitch are in no way attention-grabbing. In fact, they tend to make the journalist feel less like a priority. Journalists, like most human beings, like forming connections. Hence to form a connection with them, you need to make them feel special.
If they think you’re sending the same exact pitch to other journalists and working with whoever will accept you first, chances are, they would not be compelled to work with you. A quick tip for writing a PR pitch is to have small tweaks to make your pitch looks personalised for the journalist.
Inability to write well
Typos are rarely forgivable, especially so when speaking to someone who writes for a living. Simple typos and grammatical mishaps can doom a pitch by ruining your credibility in the eyes of the recipient. Other factors such as the length and poor flow of a pitch email might deter the reader from taking any further action.
In short, these easily avoidable errors not only show a lack of interest, but also preparation. If the journalist is taking the time to read your pitch, you should ensure it’s professional and concise. Proofreading once after writing a PR pitch can go a long way.
Regardless of the industry that you’re in or represent, knowing how to effectively craft a pitch for the media is the most critical step to success in PR and content marketing.
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In any case, try writing a PR pitch and have a go at this interactive flowchart we’ve created! Keen to learn more about the ingredients of a successful PR pitch? Drop us a message at [email protected]