As any PR or communications professional knows, pitching is the single most important skill to possess. While there are various approaches and styles to this, it’s important to find a structure and style for pitching that has had proven success within your industry and then standardize that formula across your team. So how can you streamline the process of pitching to make team members as successful and efficient as possible? First, it’s important to identify the key components that make up every well-rounded PR pitch. While each pitch can, and often will, look a little different, we have found that there are four primary components that should be included in every pitch. Here are the four core components and their definitions:
The lead is the angle into your story. Keep this as short and concise as possible. A lead should be comprised of one of the following:
- A news peg is a trending story or topic in the news that relates to what you’re pitching. For example, leveraging the presidential debate or a new medical study that was just released. This allows you to hook the reader with a relevant and widespread story.
- A time peg represents an upcoming date or event. For example, anniversaries of days like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina, days or weeks dedicated to specific causes like “Health IT Week” or “Mental Health Awareness Day,” or even months like “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” These types of dates and events can be easily leveraged for PR purposes as media outlets will often shape content around significant or relevant time pegs. In order to keep track and take advantage of these dates, it’s helpful to create and consistently update an internal editorial calendar with your team.
Call to action (CTA)
This is the action that you want your audience to take. For instance, in our case this would often include speaking with a professor or publishing an infographic or blog on behalf of our clients.
This is where you allow yourself to stand out and differentiate yourself from the competition. Demonstrate the significance of what you’re pitching and why it’s important. What value would it provide to their publication and readership? How does it relate to the larger story? These are some of the questions you should address.
Quickly thank them for their time and reiterate what your goal or call to action (CTA) is. Keep this brief and to the point.
There are questions that you should always be asking yourself when writing a pitch. Here are a few of the important ones to keep in mind:
- Who is your audience?
- What is the larger story?
- Why should they care about what you’re pitching?
- What value does this provide them?
- What story are you creating in your pitch?
To see how this formula looks in practice, I’ve included a pitch below which is color coded based on the four components I described above.
Caroline brings a wealth of knowledge in communications, marketing, and account management to the Circa Interactive team, and she has worked with partners such as HP, Cisco, and Adobe. Graduating with honors in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Oregon in 2011, Caroline now plays a key role in Circa Interactive’s digital PR strategy by building long term relationships with internationally recognized media outlets on behalf of our clients.