I started working at Taylor a month ago, joining the Digital Strategy team as the new Digital Specialist. Not only was I beginning a new job, but I was also delving into a new career industry. I had been on “the other side” for years (if we want to get technical, that’s 12 years, since I started writing for my local paper at a young age). My last job as an online editor for Seventeen had me receiving over 100 emails a day from publicists. Over the years of press releases and pitches, I soon began to form a list of PR hits and misses in my head for future reference. Today, I share them with my new company:
1. Do find the “What’s in it for the readers?” angle – The first question I always asked myself as an editor reading a pitch was, “How will this benefit the reader?” Address the one thing that makes your product/ campaign different from others and beneficial to that publication’s readers, and you’ll make it that much easier for the editor to say Yes!
2. Do know the audience – I remember getting pitches for self-help books about going through divorce and 60-year-old celebrities that teenage girls wouldn’t even care about. Know the publication you’re pitching to and you’ll save everyone’s time (including your own!)
3. Don’t stalk – Follow-up emails and calls are fine since editors are very busy and definitely overlook things sometimes. However, after one follow-up, rest assured they’ve seen the pitch and if they’re interested, they’ll be in touch. Promise.
4. Do form a casual relationship – My favorite publicists to work with were the ones who never pressured me to cover things, but would ask me if it was something I wanted to write about and how it could work the best for my publication. “I have XYZ product. Anything we can do with it on your site? Giveaways? Exclusive recipes?”
5. Don’t write novels – Keep your pitches short and sweet. Because of time constraints I could only give the lengthy pitches a quick glance anyway, so say everything you need to say in a few sentences or use bullets.
The bottom line? If your pitch is strong enough, you’ll get a response. Keep these things in mind though, to make the process even more successful!