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Gini Dietrich

How to Pitch a Story Like a Pro and Get Results Every Time

By: Gini Dietrich | June 14, 2012 | 
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Dear PR Pros,

Why must we continue to have this conversation?

Is it because you’re too busy “pitching” to read anything about your industry? Perhaps you don’t read blogs, in general? Are you so busy following up with the 10,000 spam emails you send to journalists that you just don’t have time to actually learn how much more effective pitching would be if you built relationships? Is it because relationship building takes time and you only have time to send one email? Or is it because the industry is still rewarding you for results in coverage instead of business growth?

Whatever the reason, stop it. Stop it now.

I just read an article Amber Mac wrote for Inc.

She says:

Every day I immediately delete about 20 percent of the messages in my inbox. Historically, the emails I trashed were mostly relegated to Nigerian scams and requests for cash from someone “unable to access” his pending inheritance. Fortunately, Gmail spam filters have helped to abolish most of these. Unfortunately, these same filters can do nothing for the endless stream of PR pitches that assault my inbox that are often irrelevant, impersonal, and, dare I say it, lazy.

I’d venture to guess I delete about the same percentage…and it’s not my name that’s listed as the chief content officer at Spin SucksLisa Gerber, how many pitches do you delete every day?

When Mitch Joel and I did our first podcast together, we talked about why most PR pitches suck.

He said something that really resonated. He said (I’m paraphrasing) every, single pitch that is researched and targeted is 100 percent effective.

Think about that. If you build a relationship with a blogger or a journalist and you pitch them what you already know they write about, you will hit a homerun every time.

It’s not that hard. It’s definitely much easier than it used to be. When I started my career we had big, green Bacon’s books. And we had only a few sets for 200 people. So you check out the books, look up the journalists in the industry, copy the pages, find the most recent magazine or newspaper articles they’d written – in hard copy – you’d read and then you’d pick up the phone and call them.

Now you can look up a journalist or blogger on Twitter and discover in less than five minutes not only what is interesting to them, but also where they write (and on which topics). Then you can switch over to their blog or online media and read a few articles or posts on the topic you’re about to pitch.

Yes, it takes longer, but it’s much more effective.

Gone are the days of cold calling and so are the days of mass pitching. Wouldn’t you rather know that if you pitch five journalists in one day, four of them are going to run a story, rather than send 10,000 emails and maybe get one bite?

Those odds seem pretty darn good to me.

Think about it. Do better. Let’s stop having this conversation.

With love,

Gini

 

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

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