The Art (And Magic) Of The Pitch

Nothing gets our juices flowing in the AHA PR office more than the opportunity to pitch media and bloggers. Coming up with the right idea that will get a journalist or blogger to learn more about a client’s organization or their product or service takes more effort than most people outside of PR realize. It is part art, part science and part magic – I think.

While we still believe that there is value in a news release, more and more these days, we find ourselves developing pitches for a specific journalist or blogger. We write the pitch as if we were writing it for an editor – with stats, facts and why this story idea is relevant to the readership or audience of that journalist. It is an interesting process and one that takes the effort of several of the AHA crew. We put the pitch through its paces, reviewing it through the eyes of a busy journalist who receives a lot of pitches in a day. We look at it with the “who cares” lens – and ask why anyone would care about this information?  If we can’t confidently explain who would care and why – the pitch needs to be reworked. And if we keep hitting the who cares phase and we can’t get past it – sometimes, we need to go back and speak with our client about taking a different angle or, perhaps, coming to terms with the fact that while this information is of value to a specific audience relevant to their organization, that it may not be of value to a larger, more public audience.

Ragan.com has a great piece written by tech journalist David Pogue of the New York Times. We’re big fans of Pogue’s work – not only does he know his stuff, he is a genuinely nice guy and he’s really funny. (Several years ago, he was a speaker at the Ragan Social Media Conference and there was a technical glitch with his presentation. Pogue sat down at the grand piano on the stage and performed a fun, lively little number taking a poke at communicators and reporters for us while the challenges were being fixed.)

In this piece Pogue shows two pitches that got his attention. Getting the attention of the New York Times tech journalist is a pretty great thing – this is worth a read.

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