It’s time for the holidays, and everyone is trying to find the perfect gift for that special someone.
For PR pros, there’s no group more special than reporters. Have you thought about what they might like to receive this year?
Here are some items on their pitch wish lists:
1. Fewer throwaway pitches. Journalists see far too many “nuisance” pitches—if you don’t believe it, just ask.
Pitches that are about the latest product feature, related to a geographic area out of their coverage area or about topics they don’t even cover are annoying. When you pitch a reporter, make it count. Have real news on a topic that they actually write about.
2. Pitches that get to the point. When you pitch, get to the point already. No one has time to read volumes of information to try to decipher the story idea you’re trying to convey.
State the idea in the first sentence—and don’t forget the subject line. Consider using bullet points with data or other compelling information that will grab their attention. If they want more, they’ll ask.
3. Customized pitches. Don’t send the same pitch to 100 reporters and expect good results.
Customize your pitch to a reporter’s beat. Personalize it, too—and for goodness sake, spell their names correctly.
4. Pitches with correct spelling and grammar. Though some PR pros think, “Spelling doesn’t really count,” it does.
Your pitch can be dismissed in the blink of an eye if there are misspelled words and poor grammar. If you were weeding through numerous email pitches each day, wouldn’t a poorly composed pitched with misspellings and grammatical errors be easier to delete than one that reads well?
One reporter I know says she’ll look past these errors if there’s really something there—but that’s magnanimous of her. Many reporters feel these errors are grounds for immediate dismissal by way of hitting the delete key.
5. Banishment of cold calls. Reporters hate them.
Don’t cold call unless you absolutely must. Make it the exception, not the rule.
6. Consideration of their deadlines. Remember, reporters are on deadline. When you promise to get information to them by 3 p.m., do it. Use common sense and be respectful of their time constraints.
7. A thank you. Thank them for their time. It’s more valuable than many understand. It’s also common courtesy to say, “Thank you.”
You can also “like” a piece they wrote or a share something of theirs on social media that’s not about your client. That builds relationships.
Happy holidays! Don’t forget those reporters in your life this year. Follow these tips and they may keep you off their “naughty” lists.