5 Tips to Rehab Your Pitch
Public relations is hard. The multifariousness of modern communications can be a blessing as well as a curse.
The good news is that marketers probably have more tools at their disposal than they might imagine. Re-evaluating what a company already has and giving it a quick spit shine might be all that’s missing from a PR pitch.
1. Look at the company's existing content.
Chances are the company already has some form of content marketing or a social media presence. This content can be part and parcel of an overall PR strategy. “If you create something useful, your audience will support you,” wrote Lauren Hall-Stigerts of Marketing Gal Consulting on her site Marketing Gal.
Some customer success stories may have been collected along the way. Showcase these stories to add that extra proof to the pudding. Even better, solicit questions from the audience to keep both past and prospective customers engaged, ensuring the company doesn't run out of material.
Not a natural writer? Use a camera. Something as simple as posting a picture or video of a funny moment in the office can show a company's human side. Letting an audience see fun-loving, hardworking and passionate employees can speak volumes to the service that the company might deliver.
2. Great products sell themselves.
The company might have a great product. But buying is an emotional matter, not a rational one. When promoting the company, focus on answering the question “why.” For example, people buy Apple products because it’s a revolutionary company that makes products that change individuals' lives not just how they listen to music.
While the devil may be in the details, don't beat the audience over the head with them. The answer to “why” is never merely an elaboration in terms of processor speeds or miles per gallon. If an mp3 player means gaining membership into a group of revolutionary music consumers, say, that’s genius.
3. Always be launching.
When it comes to releasing new products or features, start the conversation early and don't save all the media contacts, embargoes and stories for one magical day. Get opinion leaders on board in advance, so that even if the media coverage of a release isn’t overwhelming, launch day doesn't start cold.
An old advertiser’s adage is that people need to hear a message seven times before they'll be driven to action. Don’t let the fact that the company's product isn’t ready be an excuse to stall a public relations campaign. Regarding Apple's marketers, “what really sets them apart … is they get everyone talking months before the product launches, usually before there’s even a demo for anyone to see," Kissmetrics wrote. "No one is talking about what the product does; they’re talking about what it might do.”
Be sure to capitalize on any groundswell of popularity by having the product available for presale or, at the very least, offering a signup option for updates.
4. Be nice.
A company could have greatest launch story in the world, but if a journalist dislikes the firm, the chances for the publication's running a piece are limited. Journalists are people, too. (Some might receive upward of 300 pitch emails a day. How journalists manage their in-boxes remains a mystery.)
Remember that reporters need company contacts, too. They need a good story, one that gets traffic, clicks and eyeballs. That's what publications sell after all. A little etiquette can go a long way to engender a positive relationship and keep a company out of the reporter's spam box.
5. Pick ideas that can grow.
Ever read a list like 15 Brilliant Things You Can Do with Command Hooks? These lists are entertaining for their ingenuity but are also marketing gold. Discovering fresh uses for products can increase a company's appeal to new and existing customers. If a product really is a one-trick pony, diversify instead.
“Focus on the related needs of your already established market or on market segments with similar needs and characteristics," Canadian small business expert Susan Ward wrote. "An artist might also sell frames," she added. "A mountain bike rental business might switch to renting skidoos in the winter season.”
Create a PR pitch that can be adapted to tell an even bigger story over time, even across industries. The best part? Mine existing content. “A blog post could turn into a video series or a tips-and-tricks video could turn into a step-by-step guide on your website," according to TechSmith's site. Think about how existing content could be used and repurposed.
Take a look around. What resources are in front of you right now? Is it that reporter’s phone number saved on a napkin? Or that goofy Halloween picture pinned to the wall? Get creative and let those hidden gems turn into a shining new PR campaign.