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PR is a system. It's not an art, it's not abstract or nebulous. It can be optimized and refined. There are three key components to a good pitch. By understanding these three pillars you can pitch more effectively, and get much better ROI on your time working on PR.
Pitches should follow along Trends
Press cycles move along trends (Groupon is amazing, Groupon is growing like crazy, Groupon is a scam, Pinterest!). Reporters write about trends because it's easier to predict that people will enjoy, read, and share those stories. Wrapping your PR in context of a trend helps reporters see the value of your pitch. It serves as a signal to reporters that makes your pitch much more effective.
Reporters don't want to break the same news that everyone else does especially after others have written about it. If reporters feel that you're just pitching everyone, the story is not as valuable. An easy solution for this is to provide reporters with embargoes and/or exclusives. An embargo means that reporters will not cover a story until a set time. This provides reporters with some assurance that by the time they cover it, it will not be widely written about it. Another solution is exclusives, where you guarantee a reporter that they will be the only ones to get the story.
Avoid Meta Stories
Entrepreneurs have a compulsion to try and get reporters to write meta stories. Stop. Meta stories are hard and intensive to write about and can often fall flat. However, hard news (fundraising, product announcements) is easy for both reporters and readers to digest. So from an ROI perspective, spend your time pitching hard news. It's a more efficient, more effective pitch.
Use these three pillars to hack your PR. Spend less time, get a better response, get more press.