The demise of traditional PR has been greatly exaggerated

In the current technological world, social media is the golden child, the strategy many clients feel will most effectively get their brands out to the masses. I agree that social media is an important element of a campaign as it’s ideal for engaging audiences, amplifying messages and sending stories that appear in the press to a wider audience.

All that said, I contend (strongly) that traditional media is still a key element to a comprehensive campaign. The challenge is how to catch the attention of today’s over-booked news editors. I believe a well-written pitch letter and conscientious follow up are key.  But what constitutes a well written, compelling pitch?  (For those of you who are thinking – What about the old reliable press release? I say nay to that. While a press release is useful if a journalist wants more detailed information than they found in the pitch – they’re generally not a good first line of attack.  Too long and too detailed.)

Journalists tell me that they receive, on average, about 100-150 email pitches a day- so it’s important to create a pitch that is concise, clever when appropriate to be clever, and makes it clear in the first paragraph precisely what you want from the reporter.  The news you want to impart needs to appear as early in the pitch as it can go.  Often a journalist will only have time to look at the first sentence or two.  In total, the pitch should be a brief three paragraphs.  I know that can be difficult if the product or service being pitched is complicated but you must pare the message down to the essentials, an elevator pitch on a lift going to a low floor. Even the subject line for your pitch must be engaging and concise.

Last- even with the constraints of three paragraphs, the pitch should leave little to the imagination.  It’s best if you can answer all possible basic questions right there. Journalists need to know immediately if it’s a story they want to tell.

If you’d like to see some well-written pitches- just let me know.  One pitch is worth 1000 tweets- more or less.