Mass Success: Perfecting the Art of the Custom Pitch

Mass Success: Perfecting the Art of the Custom Pitch

This is an excerpt from The Ultimate PR Machine – a course that’s helping startups to get the media coverage that they need. Click here to join our growing community of DIY startup teams that are making the news.

Which would you rather have: a one-size-fits-all pair of slippers, or a bespoke pair of Oxfords?

From footwear to promotional campaigns, most things in life are better when they’re tailored. When it comes to connecting with journalists, this is certainly the case. A one-size-fits-all pitch rarely works. A customized approach? Always more effective.

But customizing each pitch – isn’t that time-consuming? Is it even worth it?

The fact is, while tailoring takes a bit longer than mass emailing, it’s certainly not a waste of time. Customizing every email is by far the most effective method of pitching, and is the only approach worth taking.

Why Customize?

In advertising, marketers know the importance of targeting a specific demographic. Take a one-size-fits-all approach, and you risk losing out.

The only way that you will be able to get coverage for your story is if the journalist feels that the story is something that his/her readers will actually be interested in. By reusing the same pitch, you miss the valuable opportunity to tweak that pitch so that it shows the journalist exactly WHY your story is perfect for them.

Sure, developing a unique approach for each outlet may take a bit longer, but it’s worth it. Instead of wasting time sending emails that will just end up getting deleted, and running the risk of your email address being blocked as spam, you’ll be applying a much more targeted approach, one that will ensure a much better response rate.

Mastering the Art of the Custom Pitch

Journalists are busy people. They’re constantly working against deadlines, and many receive an obscene number of emails every day. In fact, 44 percent of editors, writers, and publishers receive a minimum of twenty pitches per day! This means that if you want yours to stand out, you’re going to need a strategy.

You’re going to need a pitch that explains to the journalist: why YOUR story is one that will grab their readership’s interest.

Tips for Creating a Custom Pitch

  • Research the Journalist/Publication - This will give you an opportunity to scope out the journalist, and will help you to determine whether your story is the right fit for him/her. Is the topic something that he would normally cover?
  • Ensure Relevancy - Then, browse through some of his recent work and find out which type of stories he is especially interested in. Which angle does he usually take? Human interest, business, current events?
  • Find Your Hook - Then, tweak your pitch, so that it highlights the journalist’s particular angle of interest. This will be your hook; the thing that will (hopefully!) grab his attention and make him want to learn more.
    • Think about the journalist or publication that you’re targeting, and ask yourself ‘why is this story important to them?’
    • If you’re targeting a local news network, they’ll be most interested in the local aspect of your story. If it’s an online business publication, they will be interested in practical business advice, and real life success stories. Do your research, and sleuth out an angle that will help your story to stand out!

The Litmus Test for a Good Story

Does your story do any of the following?

  • Solve problems?
  • Make them feel something?
  • Inspire them?
  • Provide them with something of value?
  • Shock them?

Browse through recent headlines for inspiration on stories that sell.

Tailor to Perfection

Based on your research, you will have a pretty good idea about which type of stories the publication or journalist is interested in. Now use that approach to develop your pitch.

This isn’t the time to fill the journalist in on your entire company back-story, or bore him with a long-winded press release, so keep it short and sweet.

When pitching to journalists, your goal is to interest them enough to make them want to learn more. Make it interesting, and ensure it’s relevant. Remember: this is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd!

If you’re ready to take your startup to the next level, or looking to grow your company – media coverage is the way to get noticed. Your ticket to media coverage is The Ultimate PR Machine – a six-book course that will give you everything you need to start getting your company media coverage. Learn more today.

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