Developing targeted and persuasive PR pitches for b2b journalists
Pitching is a core part of what we as PR professionals do. Knowing how to develop and deliver a pitch effectively can be one of the strongest weapons in a PR’s arsenal. In addition to ensuring you hook a coverage opportunity for your client, a strong pitch is arguably just as important for building and strengthening your relationships with the b2b journalists and editors that matter.
A good pitch can help you explore new topics and beats, provide deeper relevancy to your messaging for more broad and diversified coverage overall and even help you to develop fresh new relationships. Sounds good right?
But how do you develop a perfect pitch that will persuade sometimes unknown quantities at key b2b trade tech publications to reply?
While effective pitching is an art honed over many years, there are a few tips you can keep in mind to keep your pitches fresh, relevant and targeted.
Know your client’s core messages
It might seem simple, but just as important as ensuring your spokesperson keeps the company’s core messages front of mind during a media call, is using those core messages as a lens when developing your pitch. Make sure you work those core messages into your pitch whether it’s written or being delivered as a series of talking points over the phone. However, don’t be too explicit: this messaging should only guide your pitch.
For example, you might write of ‘Company A,’ a major financial technology vendor and huge proponent and supporter of transparency in the marketplace: “Our client can comment on how new financial regulations are affecting transparency in the marketplace.”
Identify a key story
Now that you have your lens, use it to focus on some topical stories. Immersing yourself in the latest news so that you can tie your client’s messaging to a breaking story is a great way to revitalize established angles.
For financial services professionals, this means reading tier one and trade pubs in your space. It’s as easy as checking in with the top headlines in The Wall Street Journal and looking over the latest e-newsletters such as theSIFMA SmartBrief.
Not only can these newsletters and publications flag potential tweets for your client’s social media campaign, they can unearth a wealth of rapid response opportunities tied to breaking news.
For example, if the SEC implementation date for a new FINRA Rule is postponed for a certain period, use key dates and timelines within your pitch to give it more urgency. For financial technology clients especially, there are countless dates of this nature to watch out for, together with governmental committee meetings that are always useful as potential news hooks.
Establishing an angle
If you know your client’s messaging inside out and are monitoring the news with a keen eye, then working out the angle for your pitch [pitching the pitch if you will!] is simply a matter of tying together the messaging and the news item in an interesting way or using it to identify an industry trend.
A good pitch can work in several different angles on the same or related topic to pique the interest of the reader. For example, if a hot issue for you is fraud, at the break of the UBS rogue trading scandal, a strategic pitch for October might have focused on employee fraud, issues related to pre-trade risk and how to spot a rogue trader.
Developing a hit list
When developing your list of b2b journalists to reach out to with your pitch, do your research. Take the time to know and understand the beat the journalist covers and target your pitch to include a bullet point or two that directly ties in with the topics your client can discuss relative to what that journalist has written on in the past.
Distributing your pitch
Last but not least, in an increasingly connected world, there are many ways you could send out your pitch. Whether you email first and follow up with phone calls or have another favorite method, you might consider mixing up your bag of tricks a bit.
For example, think about distributing your pitch in a way that is most relevant to the journalist you are trying to reach. If they are addicted to Twitter for example, why not harness the power of social media and ping them a tweet or two?
And remember, the pitching process doesn’t just end with an article in ink: get on the phone, on Twitter or use whatever channel works best to keep the conversation going and ensure both you, your pitches and your clients remain engaged with journalists.
Do this and you might have 99 problems, but a pitch ain’t one!