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 gives great advice on what you can do to earn the pitch.
Hopefully your internet digging from last montht's post was fruitful and you’ve found the right PR or brand contact. Now what? Well, just like in the kitchen, we need our mise en place before we actually get to cook. This means we need to take a breath and prepare ourselves so we totally rock the pitch. In this post we’ll look at Five Things To Do Before You Pitch.
Before we dive into that, though, let’s first think about our overall goal for even developing the pitch in the first place. Most bloggers are looking for long-term relationships; so are the brands and PR people. So know that one cold email won’t likely get you very far. Your goal shouldn’t be to nail the pitch. Your goal should be start a relationship and demonstrate value, and a good pitch helps you do that. But first, you need to earn the pitch. Any long-term relationship takes work. Establishing one isn’t just a simple swipe right 😉
So what can we do to earn the pitch?
Show You Care
This should be a pretty obvious first step, but show you care about the brand in social media before you reach out to them. Be sure to follow along on various platforms and engage in a meaningful way. Invest yourself in them, so they're willing to invest in you. This will also greatly help you when doing your homework. (If they really are a brand you love, you’ve been doing this for a while … a sponsored partnership with a brand your audience already knows you love and support is always winning.)
Do Your Homework
Everything you did to find the right contact and your ongoing social media engagement will help you in your pitch and moving the relationship forward. What did you learn? Maybe they focus a lot on one platform for growth, maybe they have monthly or daily themes for the types of content they share and create in-house, or maybe they have a new marketing campaign in the field.
Walking into a relationship telling the other partner 'how it’s going to work' without ever considering (or looking at) what they currently do, and are supportive of, is not likely your best tactic.
How can you offer support and align with the brand using your findings? Walking into a relationship telling the other partner 'how it’s going to work' without ever considering (or looking at) what they currently do and are supportive of is not likely your best tactic. You want to open the door to a long-term conversation, so start on common ground and build up from there.
Assess Your Value & Make a List of Opportunities
All your homework and social media engagement should clearly spell out for you the various opportunities for collaboration. Make a list of all your ideas, what you’re willing to contribute to the relationship, and list out how these opportunities will help the brand achieve their goals.
After all your homework in finding the right contact (hopefully) and doing the steps above, you’re now ready to make contact. Remember, this isn’t your pitch. The first email will be to introduce yourself (briefly) and to actually confirm they are in fact the right contact. Keep it short and sweet and offer an opportunity for a follow-up call. Confirming who the right contact is will be key in developing your pitch — you want to ensure you know your audience.
On your follow up call you’ll continue on your fact-finding mission. To continue the relationship analogy, you’re 'getting to know them’ so that when you start to develop your pitch you're much better informed about their needs and desires. Once you’ve got all this, it’s time to …
Huddle Up & Get Ready
Pull all your notes and thoughts together and get ready to pull together the perfect pitch. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got all the essentials for a great pitch, coming up later this month. Good luck in your relationship building!
- The PR Desk: Establishing a Relationship with PR Agencies
- The PR Desk: How To Find the Right PR Contact
- Media Kits and Pitching Your Blog
- Pitch Better: Finding Magazine Editorial Calendars On-Line
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.