Pitches Get Stuff Done
Over the past few years, the growth and impact of the sharing economy has made waves in almost every industry. Uber's global head-to-head with the taxi industry, Airbnb's disruption of the hotel industry, and even Postmates' insertion into the delivery service industry are just a few examples of how new ideas blaze trails. The public relations industry has felt the waves of the sharing economy as well, and the manner in which PR professionals communicate is changing dramatically in one of the most traditional ways: pitches.
What’s changing? Here’s are a few examples:
- The end of the email. Gone are the days when a clever email title and a few succinct paragraphs are enough to entice a journalist to write about your story idea. According to Pew Research Center, 30 percent of Americans receive their news on Facebook, 10 percent on YouTube, and eight percent on Twitter. Journalists are the worst offenders, each building a social media reputation and depending on getting heavy traffic for the stories they post online. PR professionals need to reach out using social media platforms, utilize industry tools to narrow down focus, personalize pitches and build credibility with journalists through these platforms. Also, just like social media depends heavily on visuals in the form of gifs, videos, photos, memes and infographics, so too must PR pitches. Grab attention visually as well as verbally and get the ball rolling.
- Shareable content. When drafting pitches, keep the 'shareability' factor in mind. Consumers exchange and share news articles more and more and news outlets rely on increased traffic to their websites and analytics to stay viable and journalists build followings based on the popularity of their news stories. Create a strategy for your pitch and demonstrate how your idea can help the journalist as much as your client.
- Meaningful relationships. One may ask, what came first: the PR specialist or the journalist? Just as in a sharing economy, one cannot survive without the other. PR professionals need journalists to gain earned media for their clients and journalists needs story ideas to continue to write. While pitches used to be cold calling and a bombardment of one-sided emails, now it's up to PR professionals to build and maintain meaningful relationships. Use social media platforms, show interest, be of service to journalists, and be genuine; otherwise you may end up in the junk folder.
PR professionals are known for their ability to stay up to date with the latest trends in the news and economy, and the changing format of pitches are no exception. In the fast-paced, social media-centered world of 2016, make sure you adapt to best help your clients and your journalist contacts. After all, a little sharing goes a long way.
--- Intern Annette McDermott