Mind-stretching pitching tip I hadn’t heard before


Tuesday I learned a tip for better pitches I hadn’t heard before.

I was conducting a training session for my Inner Circle with Noelle Bates, Senior VP of Marketing for Stance. You may know Stance as the company that made socks cool as the official sock of the NBA and now Major League Baseball. Rihanna is one of their brand ambassadors.

Noelle is a great resource for learning what our executives and clients really want, because she came up through the ranks of PR. Started as a “serf” at a couple agencies, working her way up to VP of communications at three ecommerce companies, including one that was acquired by HP.

Now that she runs marketing, she taught our members what she wishes PR pros understood and did better. You know how bosses are always saying, “I wish PR would be more strategic?” She told us exactly how to do that.

One simple and obvious approach (this is not the mind-stretching tip, that is coming in a minute) is for the PR team to constantly generate new pitch angles and new outlets or influencers to approach.

“Understand up front that bosses will probably reject most of them,” Noelle says. “But that one really meaningful piece of coverage that wouldn’t have happened had you not made the effort is likely the reason you will keep them as a client and it will be the reason you grow in your career. We need people who are creative and resourceful and relentless.”

So how do we come up with those ideas? How do we snap out of the numbing routine of the day-to-day and spark better stories?

That’s where Noelle shared a little trick she’s been using herself for years, even though she’s now an executive.

Anytime I watch a news program or read a magazine or newspaper article I am thinking, “How would we pitch this outlet/person to get coverage here?” and I don’t stop thinking about it until I’ve figured it out.”

That means I have to figure out how to pitch a sock brand to “60 Minutes” and what kind of content would be interesting to a reader of Delta’s inflight magazine, but I keep chewing on it until I’ve landed on something where I could actually hear Leslie Stahl saying the words. The vast majority of the time the end idea is not something I’d ever actually pursue. But because I’ve done the stretching to figure out HOW I would if I had to, the simple exercise expands my thinking and provides me with ideas that I would have never come across had I not engaged in the inner brainstorm I’m having every day as I consume media. Most of my good ideas come from me doing this on an ongoing basis, in fact!

Try that out and watch how your thinking expands.

You can watch the rest of the training session with Noelle – including the phrasing of the monthly text message she recommends you send your boss or client – as soon as you join the Inner Circle.

And you’ll also get access to the slate of upcoming trainings. When I announced them at the close of Tuesday’s event, Noelle asked for access so she can learn from them, too.

See you on the inside.

This article was originally published on Oct 18, 2018.