One pitch was hailed by the journalist who got it as “the best pitch I have received. Ever, actually.”
The other got posted to the recipient’s Facebook and Twitter feeds as an example of how NOT to pitch with the hashtag “#cringeworthy.”
My followers shared these two pitches with me recently, a few days apart. What struck me was actually how similar they were. The PR pros who wrote them don’t know each other, but they were both using the same approach to grab the attention of their target journalist. And both did it well, in my opinion.
The key difference boiled down to one word in the “bad” pitch that dramatically shifted the perspective and subconscious of the reader. It created a totally different feeling in the reporter who received it than what the PR pro intended. I’ll show you that one later. First, here’s the “good” pitch.
The “good” pitch
This example comes courtesy of Adam Yosim, whom I met last month when he attended my pitching workshop in Washington, DC. Adam explained to me he was a bit hesitant about pitching because he knows from personal experience how infuriated journalists get by irrelevant and sloppy pitches.
Four days after the workshop, he sent me the success story that came from implementing the action steps and mindset growth that he learned. He explained that he was targeting a reporter for a trade outlet that’s important for his client. As part of his research, he noticed that she had earlier tweeted about a colleague bringing a French press to her Friday editorial meeting with the hashtag “#FrenchPressFridays.”
So he included “#FrenchPressFridays” in the subject line of his pitch email. He explained that he’s also a French press fan who uses it to make cold brew coffee at home. Then he introduced his client – which is wholly unrelated to coffee – and explained a large contract they had recently won and why it’s important.
She replied: “Hi Adam, This is the best pitch I’ve received. Ever, actually. So thanks for that!” And then asked some questions that led to booking the story.
To be sure, I’ve heard journalists complain about PR pros lazily inserting a reference to a recent tweet as “trite.” But the positive reaction shows that Adam researched this reporter properly and pushed the right buttons to make this approach appealing instead of off-putting.
Unfortunately, that one pesky word in the other pitch, and the attitude it represents, is what turned it from one with promise to one held up for scorn. I explain that next week 🙂
How YOU get there
Would you like to go from nervous about pitching to having journalists thanking you for your pitches? Like Adam did here? You can achieve the same rapid growth (if you are as attentive and action-oriented as Adam). Join me at my next Secrets of Media Relations Masters workshop in New York in September. This is a popular destination at the optimal time of year, so it may sell out. I wouldn’t wait.