Welcome to our monthly feature The PR Desk! Written by PR professional Heather Travis, it guides bloggers on the ins and outs of navigating the world of PR agencies and brands. This month, Heather shares her insights into what makes the ideal pitch.

The Bloggers Guide to the Essentials of a Good Pitch | Food Bloggers of Canada

By now you should know exactly to whom you are making your official pitch. They may be the PR or Marketing Manager from in-house, or you may be speaking with a PR or digital agency that represents the brand. Hopefully you’ve already had a great little phone call or email exchange about the brand, the opportunities, their goals and objectives — you may have even gotten the scoop on an upcoming campaign. All of those insights, combined with your extensive online research, will give you all the fuel you need to craft a good pitch.

The ideal pitch is short and sweet, and only has two key essentials: showing your value and demonstrating brand alignment/understanding.

Showing Your Value

Sure you’ve got your media kit, but what you want to communicate in a few short sentences is what value you can offer. For instance, if campaigns you’ve done in the past have generated a 10 percent conversion for the brand (clicked from your site to theirs and then did something further), you will want to share this strong metric. It speaks to the value of your readership. Do your photos and recipes regularly get picked up by various media or included in others’ recipe round-ups? You’ll want the brand to know the value of your extended network of supporters.

While you may have a long list of ways you can add value, you’ll want to think strategically about which you include in your pitch. Think through what your homework has taught you and include only the ways you’ll add value that means the most to the brand.  You’ll also want to ...

Demonstrate How Your Partnership Aligns With the Brand’s Goals

Your homework will have also hopefully provided you with some insights into what the brand’s goals are. Maybe it’s increasing the fan base of particular social media platforms, maybe it’s generating new content specifically for their site, or maybe it’s to start speaking to a new target audience. If you submit an idea or pitch that's contradictory to their goals you aren't likely to get very far. Knowing these, or making an assumption based on what you see online (e.g., “I’ve been a big fan of yours for a while and have noticed your ABC brand starting to reach out more to XYZ group, and I love this because that’s who I am and who my readers are!”) shows you're aligned and care. Again, back to the relationship analogy: really it’s all about showing you care and that you listen/pay attention. Am I right ladies and gents?

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I’ll add a third essential, but this isn’t really included in your pitch per se.

Know Your Limitations

Some pitches are accepted right there on the spot, but they're few and far between. Most pitches are an opportunity to start a negotiation, a friendly businesslike discussion on what would work best for the brand and for you. For this, know your limitations. Know where you can add value and what you’re willing to do. Be honest about timelines you can meet, and other deliverables.

Like I’ve said before, the goal shouldn’t be to nail the pitch but rather to start a strong working relationship benefiting both you and the brand now and into the future.

Good luck with your pitch!

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Heather Travis @heathertravis is a PR professional and lover of all things creative. She has extensive experience developing and implementing integrated public relations and marketing programs for agricultural brands, producers and processors, as well as high end sporting goods. She’s a DIY junkie with a mean power tool addiction, and can often be found painting, refinishing, and scouring both junk yards and antique markets for her next fix … err, piece of content for her blog heatherinheels.com. Find Heather on Twitter @heathertravis and Instagram @heathertravis.

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