I recently determined the winners of my annual Best Pitch of the Year competition, and here’s what you can learn from them.
I also have a brief announcement to make below.
Average word count
No surprise that they were short. Average word count was 209, but most were shorter than that – a couple skewed the average higher.
Turning vanilla into llamas
Two honorees were handed less-than-stellar materials and dug deeper to deliver more than their clients expected. One agency lead didn’t stop when the foundation she reps offered her a great spokesperson. She asked lots more questions and poked around the organization until she turned up an amazing visual. She’s used it to book segments on mornings shows in major markets up and down the East Coast, and also on Fox & Friends.
Another intrepid PR pro literally climbed a mountain for her client. She was hired to do local publicity for a popular trail running race. She hiked up to an aid station at 10,000 feet and learned about the team of llamas race organizers use to pack supplies up that high. What story can’t be made more appealing with a llama angle? Her placements got picked up Runners World, a bonus her client told me they are thrilled with.
Land the New York Times – 3 and 12
The two pros who shared the overall Best Pitch of the Year honor both landed positive placements in the NYT without major news or a big organization behind them. Their approaches both revolved around the numbers 3 and 12.
Both used a three-paragraph pitch structure: a customized intro that tied their idea into the writer’s beat; then a brief description of their idea; then a call to action with offers to help.
The 12? That’s how many months it took for them to get that precious placement. Lots of back-and-forth with the journalists led to further story development. A nice blend of patience and persistence is evident when you read through their long email conversations.
Want to see the Best Pitches of the Year?
You can check out all 15 pitches, word for word, along with the placements they landed (WP, Wired, New Yorker, LAT, USAT), as well as my commentary and takeaways. I deliver this exclusively to members of my Inner Circle group coaching program.
If you’d like to get access to all that you can learn from these great success stories, apply to join the Inner Circle here.
If you’ve been considering the Inner Circle, be sure to decide soon, because enrollment in the Inner Circle will be closing indefinitely on Feb. 15.
This is a return to the process we used for the first eight years of the program – we carefully guarded access, only opening from time to time. Last year I experimented with year-round access to see what that would be like. The user experience stayed great, but things are much easier for us on the backend with more control over when people join.