20 seconds to pitch perfection

Here’s how to cut through the preamble and quickly get to what reporters really want to hear.

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Say you have a fantastic press release, blog or feature that could really help drive awareness of your client and build strong relationships with key journalists. There is just one problem: To stand a chance of success, your pitch needs to stand out and compete with the countless other PR professionals targeting the same title or journalist with their own stories.

If we lived in an ideal world, there would be loads of time to discuss the ins and outs of a story with journalists at length, but unfortunately, there isn’t. Unless you can deliver the essence of a story and its relevance in less than 20 seconds, it is unlikely that a journalist will be interested.

My first job in PR was with a big London agency, which was certainly a baptism of fire as far as learning the media relations ropes goes. I was fortunate enough to work with an ex-national journalist who gave me some good advice that sums up how journalists want to be pitched to:

“Imagine you have to run into a pub and grab everyone’s attention as quickly as possible. How would you summarize the most important and pertinent points into just one or two sentences?”

A great starting point, but here are a few top preparation tips to help get you there:

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