If you live in the PR world, you know that a strong media pitch can make all the difference when it comes to securing coverage. Media relations is quite possibly the most important aspect of the work we do for our clients, and every successful media campaign begins with a successful pitch!
What common elements do media outlets in different industries share, and what makes each one unique? The answer to this question can make or break your pitch.
Rachel and I gathered with other Phoenix PR professionals at the Henry (yum!) last Thursday for PRSA’s Phoenix luncheon: “Pitching Commonalities - What Works and What Doesn't Work across Industries.” At the event, a panel of PR professionals across various industries delved into what makes a pitch relevant to a specific editor/reporter, and how putting in a little extra effort when pitching can payoff in the long run.
The panelists at the event included:
-Whitney Murray, Marketing Director, Fennemore Craig P.C.
- Sarah Broome, Senior Public Relations Specialist, Microchip
- Ashley Shick, Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Bashas’
- Jared Johnson, Manager, Marketing Technology and Analytics, Phoenix Children’s Hospital
The panel discussion was moderated by award-winning journalist, Masada Siegel, media and marketing strategist and former producer and writer at Newsweek, CNN and Fox news among others. Masada began the panel by discussing pitching and storytelling from the receiving end. As a reporter, Masada explained how much easier her life is made when an agency or company has done some research prior to pitching her a story.
For example, Masada shared with us an experience she had with a young man who took the time to research what stories she had covered in the past, what topics she is generally passionate about AND offered her additional relevant information to strengthen the story (expert contacts, supplemental research on the topic, etc.)
Every industry needs PR, but how do we appeal to these industries individually? Masada and the other panelists agreed; the answer is to do your homework! If the goal of your PR endeavors is to score media coverage and build relationships with editors and reporters, it is important to understand what makes each media outlet unique. What types of stories does this outlet usually cover? Do they deal with a specific topic? Can I find a way to make my story more relevant to this topic? These are all questions PR people need to ask ourselves prior to pitching a story. Not only will reporters and editors recognize and appreciate the effort, but you will pave the road to future coverage by building strong relationships within the media.