Like anything worth knowing, PR is all about the fundamentals. There are building blocks, key pieces of knowledge that make the difference between being a PR practitioner and being a PR professional.
One of those fundamentals is the pitch. We hear a lot about bad pitches, especially via sites like Bad Pitch Blog
and Pro PR Tips
that were inspired by the sheer volume of off-topic pitches received. But, what about the relevant, timely pitch topics that still go unanswered?
After you’ve accurately identified what you’re pitching and to whom, you still run the risk of sending a bad pitch. Truth is, the structure and approach of the pitch itself are often overlooked, and they can make or break your chances of a response from a media representative—regardless of how well targeted and relevant your message is.
Enter the “pitchwich.” Like a delicious and satisfying sandwich, the pitchwich feeds the media you’re reaching out to by providing them with the information they need in a clear concise way. Check out the ingredients:
Say hello, but keep it short and get straight to the point. Greet the recipient of your email in a friendly—but not overly personal—way, and let them know right away why you’re sharing this information. Often this can be either a “problem statement” or a reference to a recent article by the person you’re emailing. Here’s an example bread slice:
Hope your week is going well! I saw your recent article on cats, and I completely agree with your thoughts on shedding.
(or condiment of choice)
This is where you should mention how you or your client would tie in to the introduction. Are you the solution to the problem introduced? Does your client have a connection to a recent article? Check out the use of mayo:
Are you familiar with the ShedBed (www.FakeShedBed.com)? It’s a new way to keep pets from shedding all over the house by containing it in one spot—the pet bed.
After you’ve connected the dots, provide relevant details that the person must
know about you or your client. Keep it brief, but include key details such as what specifically separates you from the competition. Link to images and product pages if more information can be found on the site, rather than spelling it all out in a lengthy email. Meat/veg in action:
ShedBed is a pet bed with a purpose. Using a new proprietary technology to gently massage and groom cats and dogs while they lie on the bed. Unlike manual brushing, all the stray fur is collected and contained by the ShedBed so you can easily throw it away. You can see it in action here: www.FakeShedBed.com/videodemo.
The pitchwich should never be an open-face sandwich. Conclude your message with a clear call to action. What do you want the media person to do with this information? Offer an interview, product sample, additional information, or images, but be sure you’re asking them to take action. The capper to the perfect pitchwich:
I think this would be a great solution for Mr. Boots’ shedding issue. Are you interested in learning more or in receiving a review unit to try for yourself?
I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!
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The pitchwich is only a guide. Everyone is different, and it’s important to be familiar with who you’re pitching, personalizing your messages to him or her as much as you possibly can. PR is about building relationships, and the way you communicate with media will change as you develop those relationships.
In the meantime, the pitchwich can help keep your messaging simple and effective.
Ashley Halberstadt is the director of digital media relations for digitalrelevance, an online marketing agency in Indianapolis. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency's blog.