Whether you’re pitching on behalf of your business or yourself, it’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of pitching: What day of the week should I send it? How many days should I wait to follow up? Should I follow up once or twice?
When we do, we blow past the more foundational questions that lead to the most compelling pitches and dictate the experience on the other side.
Before you sit down to write your next pitch, ask yourself these questions:
- What’s the purpose?
What are you trying to get out of this podcast interview or op-ed placement? You may want to promote a specific product or service, raise the overall visibility of your brand or inspire other people to start coming to you as a go-to resource on a particular subject. Knowing this shapes your pitch topic, what you promote as your CTA and how much time and effort you invest in the pitch.
- What’s the link?
How can you make a real-life connection with this person? Do you know people in common, did they write or say something meaningful that resonated with you, do you share a common passion or cause? Don’t B.S. this part. The person on the other end of that screen is inundated with generic pitches (in fact, lack of personalization is one of the top reasons journalists reject pitches). Like you, they’ll pay more attention to someone who goes out of their way to make a genuine, thoughtful connection.
- What’s the ask?
One of the most important things I’ve learned in my years in PR is the more fully formed an idea you can bring, the better chance you have at landing it. Event organizers, podcast hosts and opinion section editors don’t have the time to kick around a half-formed idea or topic. Bringing them a fully-formed, well-researched idea with a clear ask is as close to pitching gold as you’ll find. It also underlines your professionalism and credibility which makes them more open to working with you.
- How can I best be of service?
Instead of asking, What does this audience want to hear from me? Consider, How can I best be of service to this publication, podcast, event? It’s a slight shift that takes the emphasis away from coming up with the perfect topic and instead positions you as a partner to the people who are ultimately approving or rejecting the pitch.
For example, you might know your nutrition clients love to talk about intermittent fasting, but if the publication you’re pitching has 10 recent articles on intermittent fasting that read just like yours, they’re not going to approve it. Thoroughly research each publication, event and podcast that you want to pitch, paying special attention to their audience, tone and content. What lens could you apply to your experiences and expertise that would be most useful to this specific platform and community?
A few well-researched, quality PR wins will move you farther up the mountain than a slew of random, less intentional ones.