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3 ways to delete-proof PR pitches
2015-11-12

Journalists juggle multiple responsibilities. Many receive hundreds of PR pitches every single day. The result: more PR emails overlooked or deleted.

Here are three ways to keep your next pitch from getting trashed:



1. Target reporters first, not editors. The newsroom has become incredibly fluid. “It’s a less top-down place than in the past,” says Tom Hallman, a Pulitzer Prize winner and senior editor at The Oregonian.


The result: “The power to get the story out now really lies with the reporter—not with an editor who assigns stories, as was the case in the past,” he says.


Hallman’s advice: “Get to know the reporters who write about your subject area. Pitch them first. If that doesn’t work, then pitch their editors.”


Register for PR Daily’s Nov. 12 PR University webinar “The Science of Pitching the Press: New Study, Publishers Reveal Secrets of Tripling Coverage” to ensure that every email, social media and phone pitch you craft turns heads and earns high-profile coverage.



2. Pitch people, not products. “ The best PR people are storytellers,” says Hallman. “Don’t leave that behind in favor of social media shares or likes.”


“Be a writer,” he advises. “Put a person into your idea. Find the human angle before anything else.” One effective approach is to find—and directly state—what makes the person different and unique.


For example, Hallman received a pitch that a doctor was retiring from a local hospital. The idea lacked the human angle or emotional resonance he needed.


Hallman says it might have worked if it stated the doctor was different because he turned down lucrative offers from other hospitals over his 35 years there so he could stay at the hospital he loved.


3. Assist with assets and access. Newspapers reporters now face constant urgent deadlines, thanks to the 24/7 nature of online coverage.



Many also often cover multiple beats, says Hallman, and most also now take their own photos, create videos and generate social media posts for their stories. In fact, 48.8 percent of reporters say newsrooms use social media activity to evaluate their stories, according to the “2015 Business Wire Media Survey.”


“Realize today’s reporter is busy, looking for the exclusive and overwhelmed,” says Hallman. “You can help by providing assets like photos. They can bring a pitch to life, even if we don’t use them in the story.”


Behind-the-scenes access and off-the-record industry insight are also helpful. “Cooperation and collaboration are key to getting our jobs done,” says Hallman.

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Vivian Li

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