Crafting the perfect pitch

How boring it is to create a press release and then disseminate to get some small coverage in some part of the region in a publication. While they say press releases are passe’ but clients still insist on doing a carpet-bombing exercise of sending press releases which in many cases lands in the spam box of the journalists. Remember journalists wants something more exciting which will drive them to come out with some interesting stories which will create a better impact for the brand and give the client the desired milage.

The band of journalist across all publications both online and print are very savvy and have their ears to the ground. They will always look forward to some proactive briefing or initiative from the PR consultancies to give them some interesting story angles to make the story interesting. A focussed story with strong and clear messaging will always help the brand to build its credibility.

A great and interesting pitch will always excite a journalist to look at the story and take it forward; but a pitch that is not focussed and without a great idea will never see the light of day. We all know writing a pitch note is an art and one has to meticulously craft and rewrite it several times before arriving at that killer strategy or peg that will compel the journalist to convert it into a story. All this comes over a period of time and experience, brain storming and internal discussions. Here you need to take the client in to confidence and get his or her inputs so that what present is factually correct.

Another interesting point to note is we should also understand the journalist well and his way of thinking and writing stories. One should also be able to deeply think if the story is news worthy before writing the pitch note. These days you need not limit to e-mail pitching. You can also reach them through social media to get a faster response and get the story initiated fast, if the journalist spots an opportunity for an interesting story angle. He will be all the more willing to take it forward quickly.

So, what really drives a good pitch note?

Key drivers for a good pitch:

  1. Define your objective, target audience and your key message
  2. Understand the category well. One needs to do a lot of homework here and ensure that facts are genuine and true.
  3. A deep dive into research will help you to cull out great insights
  4. Have a focussed approach and get your points clearly across to the journalist
  5. Substantiate your pitch with sufficient support points to make your story very credible.
  6. Brainstorming with your team members will help you elicit fresh ideas. You may have laundry list but flesh out what is relevant.
  7. Make your pitch note very tight and crisp so that the essence is captured easily for the journalist to comprehend. Something like an elevator pitch to draw his attention.
  8. The storytelling approach will also help you to make your case stronger.
  9. Look innovatively and think out of box to grab the attention of the journalist.
  10. Finally, it helps if you have a strong relationship. It can strengthen your case with the journalist.

You can follow several formats or templates to make your pitch note compelling and hard hitting. But what is more important is to not miss your core insight and messaging in your note to the journalist. You can even try and do a video or even an audio clipping to explain as to what you have in mind. But I strongly feel you should go and meet the journalist face to face and make a short presentation that will capture his imagination. When you meet face to face some of the doubts can be instantly clarified.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Ganapathy Viswanathan
An independent consultant in Branding and Communication, Ganapathy Viswanathan comes with over three decades of experience in Brand Communication, Public Relations & Digital Marketing. He has worked in diverse disciplines with several multinational advertising agencies like Ogilvy, Lowe and Mudra Group.

On the Public Relations front, he was the General Manager, Western region of 20:20 MSL, where he spearheaded the western region operations. In his last role he was the Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing Communication at Eureka Mobile Advertising - a mobile engagement company in India head quartered in UK.

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