The PR Pitch: A Skill that Matters More than Ever
By Sarah Skerik, Vice President, Content Marketing, PR Newswire
An article Ragan’s PR Daily ran last week titled “Is the Traditional PR Pitch Dead?” flirted with the notion that it’s possible to practice PR without pitching media and bloggers. The author, Rachel Farrell, concluded (and I agree)that social media is a path to news, not a replacement for it, and that pitching thought leaders and who shape opinion is still a good idea. The art of the pitch still matters.
I’ll go a step further and say that the pitch has never been more important to PR than it is today.
The pitch is the art of describing the very core of a story, and it drives right to heart of why the story would be of interest or importance to the audience.
Just as a pitch – whether delivered via email or phone — is designed to attract the attention of a journalist, that same pitch can also be used to attract your brand’s publics.
In fact, we need to think about leaving multiple pictures into messages, in order to attract the reader keep the audiences’ attention and guide them along the path that we’ve created, all the way to the outcome we intend.
Even if pitching traditional media and connected bloggers isn’t part of the remit of the particular project, ultimately the success of the message hinges on the pitch, and here’s why:
The pitch will win attention: When appealing to online audiences, it’s crucial that you surface that essential why in the story as quickly as possible. Think about starting your press release, for example, with a pitch.
Keep pitching to hold attention: But don’t stop pitching for attention with the headline. Once you have the attention of the reader (or in the case of a video, the viewer,) you have to keep it. Keep pitching throughout the message to keep the audience engaged. How do you do this? Keep surfacing those crucial nuggets that describe why the story matters, and lead your audience through the message, laying a trail with these compelling ideas.
Close the deal with a pitch: What’s the outcome you want the audience to take? If you’ve kept the audience’s attention throughout the whole message, you’ve managed to generate a lot of interest. Well done! But now is not the time to take your foot off the gas. Encourage the reader to take the next step, and use a pitch to do it.
Abandoning the power of the s the last thing I would do. As the availability of information multiplies and attention spans correspondingly decrease, honing the ability to craft messages designed to garner, keep and guide audience interest is important, and the pitch is a tactic that translates especially well to today’s attention market.
Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of content marketing, and is the author of the e-book “Unlocking Social Media for PR.” Follow her on Twitter at @sarahskerik .