Pitch Madness

Aw spring. A time for flowers to bloom, birds to sing, and people to yell at their televisions as they watch the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

No matter how you filled out your bracket, you’ve no doubt experienced some disappointment. It’s one thing to get outplayed by the other team. It’s another thing entirely to watch your team lose due to turnovers and wide-open air balls.

Yes, there is a PR moral to this. There are a lot of things about our work that are outside our control – what our companies/clients actually do, the outlets our bosses want coverage in, the interests and time demands of the journalists we’re pitching. It’s frustrating when we don’t get results because some of those factors just didn’t line up. It’s… so… much… worse when victory is in reach, but we fail because of unforced errors.

Typos, mail merge fails, insufficient research, and other mistakes can sink even the best pitch. And they are all entirely within our control.

First thing to do when you’ve made one of these errors is acknowledge it, do your best to fix it, and move on. In the past few weeks we’ve seen young athletes miss a shot, shake it off, and take another one without wasting time wallowing.

Next, give yourself a halftime analysis on your performance.

  • If you missed a typo because you were too rushed to do a thorough proofread, work on getting your draft done a day earlier so you can read it through with more focus. When you’ve finished, pass it to someone in your department to look over before you send it out. Make this step part of the process you follow each time you write a new pitch.
  • If your story angle was great, but fell flat because you didn’t pitch it to the right reporter, take the time to do your homework. And I don’t mean spending more time looking through a media database. Carve out time to read and react to the content your target journalists are producing. Not only does this help you better target your pitches, it’s a great way to build relationships.
  • If you made a mistake on the mail merge and ended up looking like an idiot, that has an easy fix. Stop blasting pitches and expecting good results! Seriously team, this is like calling a time out when you don’t have any left. Rookie mistake. Using mail merge to pitch a dozen journalists should be a last resort. And don’t count on that buzzer beater to go in.

Media relations is challenging. Sometimes even your best stories don’t land because of factors outside of our control. But we can greatly increase our success when we focus on our own game and do everything in our power to leave it all on the court/email window.

This article was originally published on March 30, 2022

Get Michael’s 5 Winning Subject-Line Formulas and best PR tips each week free!

Articles Right Form

This is the articles sidebar opt-in form and can be accessed under “Appearance” – “Widgets” – “Articles Sidebar” http://d.bbg.li/k8mDGs

Would you like to get the next article as soon as it goes live?

(I’ll also send you other weekly tips)

'Count Me In' article subfooter optin

This is in the footer of any articles and can be edited in the "Theme Options" and "Single Blog Form" tab: http://d.bbg.li/sbzf7x