We are about to launch a new campaign for an existing client. Our client is well known in one space, but totally unknown in another- the space they are expanding into.
Yesterday, we had an internal (and rather heated) debate over how to approach a whole new set of media via e-mail pitches. In some cases, we have some relationships in place, but in most cases, this is a new market for us.
The Account Manager had scripted what he considered to be a consise and easy to read pitch. I jumped in on the review cycle and raised hell.
The point that I made in our meeting was that I strongly believe that when you initially engage with a new journalist or a new marketspace, the initial objective of your pitch should be to engage and not to sell.
If you are a PR firm or an internal PR person at a company, the receiving end- be it a journalist, analyst, thought leader or blogger, knows why you are reaching out to them: you want their attention and eventually some form of coverage.
So, before you start pitching away, I suggest the following:
1. Make sure the person you are pitching is the right person to pitch. Read their stuff, do article searches, see who links to them.
2. Ask yourself why would this person be interested in learning about your client, your company, the product, the technology, the person?
3. Does your pitch fit the editorial scheme of the media outlet you are pitching? Journals look for contributed stories and rarely run news items.
4. Make your pitch introductory in nature. Send a short e-mail telling them who you are, what you are proposing and if they would be the right person to engage with.
5. Do not (repeat six times) do no send attached files with a backgrounder, photos, a 10 of the latest press releases.
Most of all, use common sense and respect. Remember that the universe you are trying to reach is bombarded with pitches. Make the receiving end’s life a bit easier and it could yield much better results.