Do you pitch via email?
Reporters can easily get 50 to 100 pitches a day in their inboxes. That's a lot of mail, and they can't possibly read and respond to it all. Your pitch
really needs to stand out.
While it's important for PR pros engaging in media relations to have a solid story
and a better news hook, another essential pitching tip is to
have a clever way to earn reporters' attention.
Here are five examples of creative pitches that worked:
1. Send some enticing swag.
To promote "ParaNorman," a movie about a boy who sees the paranormal and must save his town from
zombies (think "The Sixth Sense" meets "Shrek"), the promoters mailed zombies to bloggers—in caskets.
They pitched The Bloggess, a risky venture because, by the blogger's own admission, she has "quite a
reputation for shaming terrible PR pitches." It turns out the crate with a casket and zombie inside, along with a personalized note to The Bloggess from
the "funeral director" did the trick. She wrote this post about "Probably the
best PR team ever" as a result.
The movie came out in August, but it's a good reminder since Halloween is right around the corner.
2. Let your product write the pitch.
A letter from a camera (yes, a camera—the Nikon D80) contained a heartbreaking pitch to New York Times columnist David Pogue after he wrote a review in
which he called the rival Canon S95 "something special."
"Well, I remember when I was your one special camera, the one you could come to for anything," wrote the Nikon D80 to Pogue in a note Match.com could only
dream about. "But I don't want to be spiteful. I only want what's best for you, and I think you are a great match for my cousin, the P7000."
In response, Pogue wrote, "Come on. That's brilliant. I hadn't heard of the P7000, but you'd better believe that I'm going to review it now." Read the rest
in Pogue's PR Daily column.
3. Pitch via a pay-per-click ad.
This is a pretty clever idea from AimClear. It
uses pay-per-click ads on LinkedIn to seed ideas. LinkedIn allows you to target your ads by company name, so for example, you could target The New York
Times. Alternatively, you can also pay by impression.
4. Write a nursery rhyme.
Off & Away, which sells deals for luxury hotels, opted to send a reporter a nursery rhyme to announce its launch party. John Cook, a reporter for the
Puget Sound Business Journal, liked it and wrote about it. "You've heard of startups making elevator pitches. But this is perhaps a new skill, boiling a
company's story down into a short nursery rhyme," Cook wrote in an article titled, "How to launch a new startup: Write a catchy nursery rhyme?"
5. Show your product doing something amazing.
There are two standouts who used this tactic.
Boeing, in an effort to turn the headline tide on
its new Dreamliner 787 jet, flew the aircraft across the United States. The flight path drew the numbers "787," along with the company's logo. The PR stunt drew headlines for sure.
Toyota—trumping American car makers—secured the privilege of towing the Endeavour space shuttle the last quarter mile of its retirement journey to its
final resting place at the California Science Center. "Toyota Tundra can (and will) pull a Space Shuttle," reads
the headline on AutoBlog.
What clever pitches have you seen work?
Frank Strong is the director of PR for
Vocus. A version of this article originally appeared on the