Although there’s a standard way to send PR pitches to media outlets, standing out from the crowd takes extra time and effort. So, how do you get your pitch to stand out from all the other pitches that are getting sent daily? To pitch the media successfully, it is important to understand that PR is not about how many pitches you can send out over a short period of time. Rather, it is all about the quality of the pitches.
Whether you’re pitching a physical product, a service, or a digital download, you need to figure out why someone should spend their money on whatever it is that you are selling. While public relations is different from traditional advertising, you still need to know how to present your brand to potential clients and investors in a favourable way.
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In this article, we will discuss:
- The basic structure of a PR pitch
- Unique ways to craft a powerful pitch
- Case studies of unusual sales pitches
The basic structure of a PR pitch
The PR pitch usually follows a very traditional structure, which is:
- Your business introduction
- The problem that your product/service is solving
- Social proof and other supporting data
- A compelling call-to-action
- Contact details or instructions on how to purchase
Of course this basic structure works as it is. However, competition for media attention is fierce so you need to figure out a way to be memorable and stand out from the crowd.
Unique ways to craft a powerful pitch
As mentioned before, while the cookie-cutter pitch may work, people want that wow factor that sets a company apart. So the next time that you’re crafting a pitch, try these tips instead:
Personalize your pitch
Tailor the pitch to each prospect and talk to them as if they were sitting in front of you. The stronger the relationship, the more mutually beneficial it will be.
Add some personality
It is one thing to develop a relationship with journalists, but it is also important to throw in your personality. Developing a unique brand voice will strengthen your brand image.
Make it 3-D
That will really step out of the box, wouldn’t it? Some marketers have sent pitches that are tangible instead of the traditional note, letter, or document. If you do this, then you will definitely stand out!
Offer to be a source for an article
One way to start a conversation with a journalist is to try and find someone that is already writing an article about the topic you’re interested in. If you look for journalists writing about a specific topic, then it’ll be easy to find someone who needs a quote or statement from an expert to finish their article. With this approach, you can provide interesting insights, experience, and data about the topic Additionally, once you offer a journalist valuable information for a story they’re already working on, you will be in their good books.
Go to Quora & Reddit
You can also find threads on Quora and Reddit which are related to your brand or your expertise. The main idea is to try to contribute to discussions and be a valuable source of information. For starters, you can try participating in discussions, commenting and sharing your opinion or interesting information. Once you’ve done this for a while, people will start paying attention to what you have to say and engaging with you. If you have meaningful conversations with other thought leaders in your industry, you can use the answers and comments to craft a creative pitch about a topic in the industry. But first, make sure you have sought permission from the people you’re planning to quote.
Build relationships with journalists
Once you have a group of media outlets that you want to connect with, you need to get to know them. Take time to build a relationship with these people before you need them to write a story about you. A journalist who already has a relationship with you will be more open to helping you when you pitch them.
Do some guest writing
Guest/ghost writing is a great way to generate publicity and attract media attention. The more you write, the more visible your brand will be. If you write great content of your own, you can earn coverage without necessarily asking media outlets to launch your product.
Go the Data Route
When you make a pitch, you don’t just want to share interesting information. You also want to share insightful data to support that information. This data is valuable to media outlets. If you did your own research and you have data which presents new findings in your industry, journalists will be even more excited to use it.
Case studies of successful PR pitches
1. The Brutally Honest Girl Scout
In this digital age, many people use the internet to share their reviews of different products and services.
In the case of Charlotte McCourt of New Jersey, she decided to write brutally honest reviews of Girl Scout cookies and her reviews went viral. When she started posting reviews, TV personality Mike Rowe heard about her efforts and shared it with his audience. Thanks to the publicity her reviews generated, Charlotte sold over 16,000 boxes and her customers donated 7000 boxes of cookies to American military personnel overseas.
You would think someone creating a brutally honest review of a product or service may have a negative effect on sales, but in this case it actually helped.
2. RLM Public Relations
RLM Public Relations founder & CEO Richard Laermer believes in making people laugh. He’s been known to go into meetings with potential clients carrying a box. He then hands this box to the decision maker, who opens it to find news clippings of recent stories their company has been featured in. The news clippings are covered in plastic spiderwebs. When the decision maker bursts into laughter or looks up in confusion, Laermer asks, “That’s all the PR you’ve gotten lately? We can do better.” .
Laermer claims this unusual pitch has he worked more often than not and gotten him some of his biggest clients.
3. Squatty Potty
Squatty Potty decided to talk about pooping using a very bizarre video that featured Prince Charming, a unicorn and unicorn poop. Unusual right?
Well, with this unusual PR strategy, their video “This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop”, led to a 600% increase in online sales, a 400% bump in retail sales, and over 32 million views in less than two years. It was also named one of the top 4 biggest money-makers to appear on Shark Tank. Considering the shock value of the video, the company did a pretty good job.
4. Carlsberg “Best Poster in the world”
Carlsberg has always had a history of creating interesting and clever marketing campaigns. The “Best Poster in the World” was no different.
In 2015, Carlsberg unveiled their billboard in London’s Brick Lane that actually dispensed free beer. It was an incredibly simple campaign, but something that not a lot of alcohol companies had done before and it proved to be perfectly on-brand and effective. This PR stunt generated a lot of social interest (no surprises there), with #probablythebest generating over 3m Twitter impressions in just one day.
5. Jackpotjoy’s giant rubber duck
In 2012, Jackpotjoy.com launched a campaign to celebrate Facebook FUNdation, which was an initiative to reward people who did silly things to make people happy. They did this by floating a giant rubber duck down the Thames River. They knew that it would capture the attention of people. This campaign was effective because it was memorable.
6. ASB and ball dogs
In an effort to promote the Auckland Open, ASB Bank harnessed the power of cute animals to capture attention. They used dogs as ball boys to fetch balls on the court in a match between Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The campaign was a success and the dogs got fans in the process.
7. Paddy Power
Like Carlsberg, Paddy Power is known for its PR stunts. One of their more political campaigns is when they sent a mariachi band to serenade Donald Trump when he arrived in Glasgow in 2016.
They built this campaign in response to Trump’s promise to build a wall between Mexico and the US and while it may seem like a random stunt, it was related to the company taking bets on political results. The campaign was a great example of a brand adapting to real-time events and doing things in a timely manner to drive marketing and PR campaigns.
This type of of PR stunt always comes with risks because of the level of controversy. However, because Paddy Power’s humour was already widely understood, the campaign was actually met with appreciation.
Over to you
There’s nothing wrong with using the traditional format of a pitch to send your pitches. However, if you want your brand stand out, then you need to make an extra effort to make a memorable impression. With the tips above, you can craft a pitch which will capture media attention and be shared widely.
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