I've been thinking about pitches again, mostly because I'm in the throes of several multi-source stories and have availed myself of the HARO and Profnet networks to flesh out my Rolodex (yes, I still have one. For you whippersnappers who don't know what that is, click here).
Here's a great pitch I got yesterday from JaeMi Pennington the Davis Murphy Group:
You can learn a lot from this pitch. Here's why it worked.
- He followed directions. First, JaeMi follows the directions provided, down to the subject line. Here's the deal: Most reporters who use these source services set up a filter of some sort (or just use their own brains to skim and scan email subject lines) to handle the volume of responses. This means if you don't follow the directions exactly, your pitch may not even get looked at. He also acknowledged that he couldn't deliver everything I requested, but did have the other stuff. That'll work.
- He gave me enough information. Note that JaeMi's not even the source, but he knows enough about the topic to give me some thoughts (as requested) that show me what I can expect from his client. This was enough to make me feel like he wasn't just pitching and hoping -- which happens a lot. I can't tell you how much capital you lose when you pitch your client only to find out later it's not a topic they want to address.
- He used key words. I had decided to interview his client already when I got to a magical phrase that was a big fat maraschino cherry on the cake: "in a non-promotional manner". Swish! This simple phrase shows me that JaeMi knows the drill -- that a lot of sources talk about themselves and their companies instead of the issue at hand and they do so in very sales-y terms which renders them pretty much useless to me. That means three people lost valuable time because a sales-y source is unlikely to get the ink. And they'll never get a second interview. This line also indicates that JaeMi has prepped his client on working with reporters. [CAVEAT: By no means should you EVER say this if it's not true. Then I'll think both you and your client are jerks.]
Next time you're pitching the media in response to a query or just on your own, follow these steps and you'll have a better chance of getting the immediate results you want. At the very least, you'll be building goodwill with a reporter.