In journalistic circles, emails containing atrocious examples of off-topic pitches sometimes make the rounds of bitterly amused reporters.
Um, don’t let yours be among them.
It sounds a little obvious, but sometimes we need to consciously resist the urge to contort a reporter’s request into a real stretch of logic, trying to include our product or service or expertise into their current story. Or we do in fact have a pitch that’s directly on topic, but we get carried away wanting to throw in lots of additional information that doesn’t relate to the reporter’s story needs.
Here’s a good habit to follow – When pitching a PR opportunity, restate in the first line of your email exactly what the reporter has requested. For example, say “Dear X, I understand you’re looking for young Oregon entrepreneurs who started their businesses before they turned 24.” Then go on to explain how you’re that person, and give the important facts that flesh out who and what you are, as it relates to the story. Don’t include that you’re married and have two children with another on the way, for example. Don’t give product descriptions or information on special offers or discounts. In other words, keep focused on what the reporter wants to know and why, not on what you wish the reporter would write about you and your business. If you stay “on topic,” chances are enhanced that the reporter will want to talk to you, and then you might have a chance to flesh out more details about you and your business.
Just keep reminding yourself that you want to be published in the reporter’s upcoming feature story, not in their blog rant entitled “worst PR pitch of the week.”