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Part 2 of 4: Becoming a PR Expert – Crafting the Perfect Pitch

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 Me:  Erin, I am sure you have heard quite a few pitches throughout your career.  What are a few things that people can do to pitch effectively?

Erin:  Let me take you back to my TV producing days.  I’m at my desk, just having finished a live 1 hour show with my co-workers cramming for tomorrow’s show when we do it all over again.

The phone rings.  I don’t really want to answer but the thought of checking voice mail later will be just another thing on my to do list.  It’s a PR person, asking me to chat.  Inside I’m screaming “NO WAY JOSE – I HAVE A SHOW TO PUT ON”…but my mother taught me better manners than that so I say “Okay, but I have just a few minutes, sorry”.  At that, this person launches into this “pitch”.  Now at this point it can go great for them – or – well, they will need to call back another day, with another story suggestion for me. 

How did this particular person do?  Well, if I said great, I wouldn’t be teaching anyone anything so I’m going to say “not so great”.  Here’s why:  they were nervous, and I get that.  But their pitch sounded weak and shaky cause their voice was.  He also told me things I had already known – in fact, I had just produced a segment on this very topic last week – which showed me he doesn’t watch my show.   His spokesperson (an industry expert) wasn’t really qualified to speak on the subject matter and worse yet – hadn’t ever been on national television.

I shared my thoughts with this person and luckily they were well received.  This PR person called me back the next week with a new spokesperson and complete rework of the pitch.   Within a month the fairy tale ending of the story was that I DID book his guest on the show.

Second chances with the media are difficult to come by…Here are a few tips on how to craft the perfect pitch the FIRST time around:

  1. Know your Information
  2. Tell the media something they haven’t heard before
  3. Get the right person on the phone
  4. Be familiar with the media outlet
  5. Make your pitch short and sweet (All stuff no fluff)
  6. Facts and figures
  7. Quick fixes
  8. Timely vs. evergreen
  9. Credentials
  10. A place to find more information
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