The number one mistake PR professionals make.

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It’s the number one mistake most of us PR professionals make… we don’t properly prep our pitch.

I know the thrill of hitting the ‘send’ button on our latest media alert or press release… ticking another ‘media KPI’ off the list… feeling like we’ve won coverage even before our pitch hits a single inbox.

But properly prepping your pitch is just as crucial as the pitch itself.

You can craft the world’s greatest media release, but if it’s not pitched correctly, it won’t gain traction or leading, cutting-edge coverage.

Prepping your pitch correctly involves a BEFORE, DURING and AFTER stage of the pitch process.

BEFORE. Before you even think about pitching, do your research. Here are some of the big questions I answer before setting up a send - and the answers vary based on my clients and location.

  • Who are you pitching to? (avoid blanket media sends to every contact, every time - this is the quickest way to receive an unwanted ‘unsubscribe’ email in return).
  • What’s the best time to send your pitch? (not ‘when is it most convenient for me?’ - what is the best timing for your pitch to be seen and considered by your recipients? If it’s breakfast radio, it may be the night before. For evening TV coverage, you may want your pitch to land across the early news’ desk for consideration in the daily calendar).

DURING. Early in my career, I would get so excited about executing a pitch, and feeling like ‘hitting send’ meant the job was done. The temptation is to move straight on to your next big idea - but there’s a few practicals to consider in the crucial few hours after a send.

  • Are you accessible? Make sure your phone is on, emails are continually refreshed and you pick up the phone. Every. Time. It. Rings. Missing a call or message could be the deal-breaker on whether your pitch is picked up.
  • Have you prepared? Make a list of what media outlets may need to deliver on the dream coverage you’ve planned for your pitch. Have you prepared a list of additional interviewees that could boost your story and drive it further?

AFTER. The end of a pitch isn’t the end of an era, just the end of another job well done. Once your pitch has been processed through the news cycle - think about the AFTER process.

  • Who do I need to thank? What media outlets went above and beyond in picking up and executing your pitch? What connections do you personally need to genuinely thank?
  • What’s my follow-up? How can I maintain connections after this pitch? Are there leads or interests in other stories that I can follow-up on, for certain media outlets?

The power of prepping your pitch correctly is undeniable. It’s how me and my team at Cancer Council consistently achieved 8000+ media stories a year across Australia (about 120+ front page newspaper stories, daily radio interviews and 35-40 TV stories (syndicated) a week).

Avoid making the number one mistake most PR professionals make. Your next pitch. Is it well-prepped?

Katie Clift

*If this blog post helped, drop me a line at katie@katieclift.com to say hi! You can also grab a free copy of my Personal PR Planner, tried and tested internationally for over a decade. It will upscale your media coverage: guaranteed!

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