Sunday, August 2, 2009

Never Stop Learning, Part 3

Since I've talked a few times now about how important it is to keep learning, even after graduation, I'm thinking about making this into a regular weekly topic on here... we'll see if that really happens. Anyway, last week I had the opportunity to listen in to Bad Pitch Blog's "Night School" Teleseminar thanks to a scholarship they gave to several students and professionals (I'm still not really sure which of those categories I fall into these days). Being familiar with Bad Pitch, I knew it would be both informative and entertaining and I wasn't disappointed.

As anyone in PR knows, pitching is crucial to our job but surprisingly many people still don't know what they're doing when it comes to reaching out to reporters (this became obvious through the many examples of material forwarded to Bad Pitch Blog on a regular basis). There was a lot of good information about the art of pitching, but there a few things that stood out to me.
  • Spend the extra time to make sure you're pitching the right person. This led into a conversation about sending mass e-mails and how it should never be done in pitching. By sending out generic e-mails and not respecting the needs of a reporter, we're further and further eroding the credibility of our industry (we've all seen this infamous blog post, case and point). PR professionals should be someone a reporter can trust and even approach for sources, not dread hearing from. Building relationships is key.
  • Journalism vs. blogging = paid vs. passionate. When pitching a blogger, realize that they're writing this blog because they love the topic. Chances are they have another job and life outside of this blog, so take that into consideration as far as how much time they have to read your pitch. Take the extra 10 minutes to become familiar with their content and even leave a comment or two before reaching out to them with a pitch.
  • Reporters complain about the lack of follow up from PR people. I have to admit, this absolutely shocked me. Most of the time when I'm following up with reporters I just feel like I'm harassing them. There were several good points made about how to follow up effectively, such as not starting a follow up call with, "so... did you get the pitch I sent you?" They got it, open with something original and provide new information to go along with your pitch. As was pointed out in the seminar, "pitching isn't a buffet, it's a 7 course meal." Don't give out all the information you have in your pitch, keep it short and continue following up with additional relevant information.
Overall the seminar was definitely helpful, as I know I can always use some tips when it comes to pitching. Thanks to Kevin Dugan and Richard Laermer for this opportunity, and Dr. Karen Russell for bringing it to my attention in the first place.

No comments:

Post a Comment