A little humor can go a long way to grabbing the attention of a reporter. If you’ve looked at our MoJJo website – you can see than we’re fans of the light touch, a wry comment, a bit of clever alliteration. This style can make writing a pitch more fun for us and ideally will differentiate our pitch (and your product or service) from the 200 others waiting in the journalist’s inbox. That said, while we’re crafting these clever missives, it’s important to maintain the tone of the client’s website and never, I repeat, never appear to be making fun of the product. Funny is fine – but never at the product’s expense.
One example of a current client where humor is perfectly suited is good culture cottage cheese. I knew when I first read their very engaging website with references to happy cows (they’re grass-fed and the cottage cheese is organic) and grandma’s pineapple cubes (the canned ones she used to eat with her cottage cheese) that my writing would be a good match for them. Their site has a very friendly, conversational tone and I’ve kept that tone in my pitch as well. (One journalist wrote back that she loved the pitch and wanted to try the product – so my job is done… well, not quite).
When doing follow up calls and especially when leaving voice mail messages it’s good to be consistent. I use the conversational tone on the phone as well – and generally refer to the humorous headline to help remind the reporter of the pitch. I’m not expecting a laugh or even a small chortle from the journalist on the other end of the phone. A glimmer of recognition as in “oh yes – I remember that pitch” is good enough for me.