Pitch Perfect: Don’t be the butt of a journalist joke

Media relations, a big piece of the PR professional’s puzzle, is an ever-evolving strategy with the floods of content thrown at reporters every day. More than ever, reporters bulk delete on irrelevance, and out those that really miss the mark.

So how do PR pros get past that stingy first wave and avoid being the butt of a journalist joke? Practice media relations that are relevant and drive value for both the client and reporter.

Target your influencers
The number one complaint from PR pros – “I know I should customize my pitches better, but I don’t have time.” With consistently full plates, it’s tough to spend hours specifically targeting each journalist. Fear not, the 80/20 rule comes to the rescue. focusSpend 80 percent of your time on the top 20 percent of your media lists, laser focusing pitches that reference earlier work with examples, specifics and sincerity. Assuming the remainder of your media lists are highly targeted, you can then pitch with the standard “I know you cover,” maybe getting lucky with a few reporters who need what you’ve got at that very moment.

Be persistent
It may be tough to hear, but yes, pitches often get lost in an inbox. But who says that email is the only way to get ahold of that golden goose? Sending a tweet that reads “@[Reporter] “Hey, please cover blah blah blah” is certainly not the best way to create familiarity with your name, but perhaps commenting with additional insights on relevant stories may.  Eventually, they may recognize your name in their inbox and take a few extra glances at your email.you-look-familiar

Incorporate feedback
When a reporter sends feedback your way, embrace it. If you can figure out where you may be missing the mark, it only improves your chances of hitting the right notes next time around.

As PR pros, it’s always good to reflect on our tactics, making improvements to polish our craft. Reporters are busy, but are taking time to contribute to scathing lists that out misguided pitches, showing just how bothersome they are to receive. Let’s agree to make it easy on them and do our homework, and we’ll continue to live in a mutually beneficial and evolving relationship.

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