Pitching digital-savvy audiences

February 15, 2011

Media and digital communication opportunities emerge in a flash and conclude just as fast. Factor in the time it takes to identify these opportunities and the likelihood that many practitioners are seizing them and you have a real-time PR challenge on your hands.

Consider the following to make the most of each moment.

  • Be concise and precise — Some of the best media pitches and calls to action are composed of merely a simple subject line and a few sentences.  What specifically do you have to offer — with any tangential information removed — and why should media or your potential customers be interested? Using just the facts can really pay off.
  • Create urgency and excitement — Writing with brevity helps your information get in front of editors and producers for consideration.  Add a dash of urgency and excitement by connecting your pitch to a scheduled event, conveying your uniqueness or offering a contrarian point of view.
  • Link to more when relevant — Shortened or clean URLs (those devoid of cryptic letters and digits) are inviting to editors.  You’ve provided a succinct and compelling offer, and those who click through demonstrate their interest. Google’s URL shortener and others provide metrics to monitor response, and you can make URLs for an audience of one if needed. Relevance is key, so rather than linking to a Facebook or blog home page, lead readers to a specific post, Web page or video; perhaps one created just for them. 
  • Believe in brand journalism —  A small investment in professional writing, photography, video and blogging resources allows you to publish your own news, pique media interest with elements to expand on your stories, support your content creation and activate calls to action that work online 24/7 to attract additional media and business inquiries.

    The following pitch exhibits the above characteristics:

    U.S. Census data being released this week is expected to show a record increase in the nation’s poverty rate.  The anticipated poverty rate increase — from 13.2 percent to 15.0 percent — comes just seven weeks before midterm elections. UCLA has an expert.

    UCLA School of Public Affairs Communications Associate Seth Odell wrote this to accompany his contact details and a September 2010 UCLA Newsroom YouTube video featuring professor Michael Stoll’s early census analysis.

    The video served as an audition with media who could immediately confirm Stoll’s expertise upon viewing. It became a brilliant piece of brand journalism when packaged with Odell’s summary and contact details; succinct and compelling with a timely tie-in to the November midterms.

    The summary aided search engine optimization, driving media outlets searching the Web for experts straight to UCLA.

  •  Bank on your best pitches — Develop a pitch bank containing your greatest hits and items that the media didn’t initially pick up so you can recapture their effectiveness and relevance when your next moment of truth arises.
Ryan Zuk, APR

Ryan Zuk, APR, is a media and analyst relations professional, Phoenix PRSA Chapter member and Sage North America representative. Zuk can be reached @ryanzuk on Twitter. He also blogs at criticalmasspr.com.

Email: ryanzuk at gmail dot com


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