PR pitching: Are you a pit bull or a piranha?

by PR Coach

PR pitching styles

Pitching style: Are you a pit bull, piranha or a weasel?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A pit bull, a piranha, a weasel and a skunk walk into a bar. The piranha leans over to the pit bull and asks: “So, how long have you been in PR”?

As a blogger and a former PR agency CEO, I really appreciate the challenges of media pitching and blogger relations. But if any of my former staff ever pitched me like several recent “pros” they’d be out the door really fast.

Allow me to vent!

When it comes to pitching story ideas, I’m discouraged by some of the recent pitches I’ve received because:

  • I don’t cover high-tech
  • I’m not a mommy blogger
  • you and several colleagues from the same agency pitched the identical mass e-mail to me as a “story unique for you”
  • you cc’d (copied) a long list of other media/bloggers in your email pitch
  • I’m not your friend. I don’t know you. Don’t treat me like your long-lost brother.
  • your “news” was not news; it wasn’t even remotely interesting; it was terribly written; and it certainly wasn’t unique.

What are these PR “pros” thinking?

I guess they’re not… thinking, that is. But why the heck are they in public relations?

They fall into one of several stereotypes. The pitbulls won’t let go, refusing to take no for an answer. The piranhas won’t let you get in a word edgewise until you get angry and hang up. The weasels use every excuse in the book to try to convince you to cover their story or blog about their client. Including pressure from the boss or client. And the skunks? Their pitches are redolent. You can smell them a mile away.

I guarantee, the social media pitches are no better either.

Six Media & Blogging Pitch Tips to Remember

Just for the record then, six media/blogger relations tips to remember:

  1. Do your research: read at least 6 to 8 of the reporter’s or blogger’s recent articles/posts. Do they cover your product or industry?
  2. Got news?: Doh!  There’s a reason they it “news” media. Make sure you’re not talking to yourself or “marketing.” Think benefits to their readers or audience.
  3. Focus: make your pitch short, concise, active and pitch-worthy. These days a pitch by e-mail or Twitter is best though some don’t mind a call if you have a rapport or track record with them.
  4. Angles: develop three or four story angles that you can pitch comfortably for a variety of situations.
  5. Timeliness: respect deadlines and the time pressures of reporters and editors; if you are tailgating on developing news stories or trends, be there first.
  6. Exclusivity: a major news outlet expects at least a unique angle, if not exclusivity. Be smart. Manage your story and your relationships.

I hope that helps all you animals, I mean PR pros. The next time another PR animal pitches me like I’m stupid or they’re stupid, I’m seriously going to roar!

Got a bad pitch story to share? Love to hear your story in the comments below. Want to learn more about how NOT to pitch? Try the media relations or Bad PR… Bad shelves in our virtual PR Library with 7,500+ links, tips and resources..

You’ll get more fab PR tips weekly by signing on to our blog or getting the RSS feed. And here are a couple of recent posts to get you on the road to better pitching:

38 Experts Share News Release Best Practices
50 Tips for Better Media Relations Results
51 Masterful Media Relations Tips for PR Pros
Friday PR Picks: Media Relations Tips


Jeff Domansky, APR is a PR and social PR strategist. He blogs at The PR Coach and you can also follow him on Twitter @theprcoach or (PR 2.0 Insight).

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