12 questions before you do that PR pitch

Updated on June 28, 2009

Love this plea by BL Ochman to PR people: “Please take this quiz before you send out another press release or email pitch.”

  1. Has the print, online or broadcast reporter you are pitching ever covered this topic?
  2. Would this pitch or release elicit a response from people who read it?
  3. Is this pitch or release bullshit?
  4. Would anyone pass along a story on this topic to a friend or colleague?
  5. Have you Googled the reporters and bloggers on your list so you know if they’ve covered your competitor?
  6. Have you read your competitors’ press releases?
  7. Have you checked to see if any blogs specifically cover this topic?
  8. Can you make the copy shorter?

Visit BL’s post for the correct answers.

(Via John Cass)

I’d add the following four questions:

  1. Have you actually visited the website/blog of the person you’re pitching to?
  2. Have you discovered how the person you’re pitching to prefers to be communicated with?
  3. Have you read/watched/listened to any of the content published by the person you’re pitching to in order to get a good sense of what they typically talk about?
  4. Are you absolutely sure that your pitch or press release will very likely be seen by your pitchee as relevant to them, as well as timely and interesting?

That makes 12 questions in total, a round dozen. Who has any more?

And with my four, ‘Yes’ is the correct answer to each. If you can’t answer ‘Yes,’ don’t bother to pitch.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Bryony

    This is really interesting, as all the suggestions point towards ‘do anything you possibly can before communicating directly a journalist.’ Surely keeping those lines open and two-way would foster better relationships and prevent spam? Never calling for fear that your story wont quite be a fit isn’t really going to help you learn and get to a stage where you’ll just *know* if a journalist is going to want to take a look at your story.

    From a PR perspective it’s got to be about marrying client expectations with getting the results your story deserves. Timewise, I like to have a bit of background before calling, but when you’ve got thirty people to call, checking out their entire professional history online before ringing/emailing is a bit unrealistic. Noone’s advocating a scattergun approach but sometimes you have to hedge your bets and speak to as many people as you can to get the results clients expect.

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