Tag Archives: pitching

Pitching to Santa Claus: How To Pitch in the Current Market

23 Dec

It’s not about the must-have Tickle Me Elmo this year, it’s about the savings. This year, pitching holiday gift guides was much different from years past. It was important to be cognizant of the economic climate and to position products by highlighting  the added value or the savings.

When pitching a product, it’s necessary to understand the current environment. Public relations professionals must keep current on news and current events. Whether it is the Tiger Woods scandal or the health care reform, both events can play an important part in pitching any product.

Pitching is much more than picking up the phone, dialing a number and saying, “Hello, I’m so and so calling on behalf of blank.” Here’s a few things to remember for your next pitch:

1. Conduct a media audit. Research the journalist and their particular beat. Read at least six of their articles and find a commonality. Thoroughly investigating their writing builds trust in the future conversation.

2. Practice makes perfect. It might seem silly to close the door and read your pitch out loud, but give it a try! I promise this will command more respect over the phone -confidence is key when selling a product or idea.

3. Tailor your pitch. It’s o.k. to have a universal pitch, but when you have completed your research, it’s important to personalize  the conversation to create an open dialogue.

4. Lead with a current industry trend or event. Get in the trenches with your journalists. These people are constantly scouring the news for the next best story. If you are as up to speed as they are, then you can lend more credibility.

Also, check out fashion PR blogger Yuli Ziv sharing her e-mail tips on making your pitch blogger friendly. And, if you’re wondering how not to pitch, check out The Bad Pitch Blog for the best examples. Hopefully you don’t find your pitch posted!

How do you prepare to pitch? Share your tips and stories and have a fabulous holiday, fashionistas!

Blog Pitching Tips

12 Jun

On June 3, 2008, Allison Blass from the MWW Group, was kind enough to speak in our Advanced Public Relations Writing class. Our class was particularly interested in her immense knowledge of social media. Blass had started exploring the world of social media early in her career by starting a blog. She then became an expert in all forms of social media by landing a job with MWW Group as a new media coordinator in New Jersey. She works on health and lifestyle accounts, such as Vitals.com, FreshDirect and 1-800-Flowers.

Our class was interested in pitching to bloggers and spent the entire hour discussing the topic. Blass first explained the importance of blog research and how to “blog hop.” Blog hopping is when a person goes from one blog to another by way of one’s blogroll. Noticing that many people have linked to or featured the same blogs reveals which ones are popular and relevant.

Blass also recommended that we tally our blog research with an Excel spreadsheet. This enables us to compare blog authority according to a set of criteria. She stressed that the ranking on Technorati is a poor indicator of popularity.

Blass gave us a few tips to remember when pitching to a blogger:

1) Find the correct contact information. Do not rely on database records for e-mail addresses; they can often be incorrect.

2) Check out the “About” section on his or her blog and relate back to it in your pitch.

3) Include an interview opportunity, link to the press release, or link to multimedia in the e-mail pitch. It is important to give the blogger as much as possible for them to get hooked on your story.

4) Monitor Technorati and Google Blog Search after you send the pitch.

Woo, Stick or Tip

14 May

“Woo,” “Stick” and “Tip” are all words used to describe successful pitching. There are many great how-to books on ways to win over an audience. As public relations practitioners, we are constantly trying to find the best way to communicate key messages. Tiffany Derville mentioned in my Advanced PR Writing class that being able to express your key message is crucial to public relations.

The Art of Woo, by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa, discusses how to use strategic persuasion to sell ideas. “Woo” is a fun way of describing the act of winning someone over. I enjoy that the authors give specific steps on how “woo” works. Step one is to survey your situation, which reminds me of a situation analysis section of a public relations plan. Step two is to confront the barriers, which then reminds me of a problem statement. Step three and four discuss how to make your pitch and secure your commitments.

Made to Stick, which we are reading in my Advanced PR Writing class by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, explores the sustainability of message and ideas. This book is a wonderful compliment to The Art of Woo because it gives the reader tools to keep an idea constantly communicated and explains why other ideas “die.” Made to Stick breaks stickiness down into six principles; the first two are my favorite. Principle one is simplicity. A message needs to be easy to remember by the audience. Principle two is unexpectedness, which is my personal favorite. When someone is taken by surprised they listen. Even a pleasant surprise, rather than shock value, is still “unexpectedness.”

Selling ideas with strategic persuasion and making them stick is all proven in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. He shares stories of ideas and products that have been able to “tip” into our lives and create moment for change. I’ve actually never “read” this book, however, I have listened to it on tape. During my drive to Seattle, Wash., I could picture all of the “tipping points” that Gladwell describes in his book. The Hush Puppies story is my personal favorite and I encourage everyone to read or listen to this entertaining and educating book.

So whether you are “tipping,” “wooing” or “sticking,” remember to always keep your audience and key message in mind.