Friday, September 18, 2009

A Pitch is Just a Pitch -- How to Pitch in the Web 2.0 Age

There are fewer reporters at traditional media to pitch, but a greater number of influencers and bloggers to pitch.

That's a significant problem for PR functions.

It used to be easier when you just had to pitch reporters.

But influencers and bloggers require more specialized outreach.

Our rule of thumb had been that it takes about 30 minutes to pitch a reporter: that includes emailing, following up, scheduling an interview, etc., with some reporters taking more time and some (who say no) taking less.

That's changed now. If only because there are fewer reporters but an exponential growth in influencers and bloggers in the Web 2.0 Age who can be courted by publicists.

However, it takes more time to pitch influencers and bloggers because they often write for themselves about what interests them, and can ignore stuff that annoys them. (Reporters have some obligation to cover even stuff that annoys them if it's news.)

Pitches have to be really customized now -- because if they're not, bloggers can easily write about the off-target pitch. Take publicist and influencer, Sarah Evans. In a recent post, "Turn that pitch around," posted a pitch to her as a blogger that was way off target.

So here are some ideas how to pitch in a Web 2.0 age:
  • Make sure you understand what the blogger covers and who she or he reaches. In Evans' example, they say something about her Canadian readers (Evans is based in the US).
  • Keep the pitch short and relevant.
  • Make it easy for the blogger.
  • Make the pitch actually offer them a story, not just content.
In fact, while these points are basic, I'm sure they are overlooked, especially because PR people, like the journalists and bloggers they pitch, are overworked, have too much to cover, and don't put enough time to put into crafting the pitch.

I'll add more suggestions in the future.

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