How to nail those Pitch Calls?
The generic PR activity consists of rolling out a pitch note or a press release via email. If/when the journalist is interested in your story idea he/she might respond but how many times has it happened that you received a revert from all of them? Well, you cannot really blame the journalists for not responding as it is humanly impossible to reply to hundreds of PR pitches every day. Yes, yours is not the only PR pitch he/she has received!
So what do you do to yield benefits from that perfectly crafted pitch-note? You use your next tool, “Pitch Call”.
Pitch calls are the essence of any PR activity. A productive pitch call can land you a brilliant story for your client that will keep you in the good books of everyone- the journalist, your client, and the boss. So let us talk about a few hacks that will help you nail those pitch calls like a perfectionist.
1. Watch The Watch
You cannot call any journalist at IST 9 AM or 9 PM. Do remember it is a professional call and not the one with your BFF. Monday mornings are hectic and so are Friday afternoons, refrain yourself from calling any journalist during these days and time. No calls on extended weekends and national holidays, period! This is of utmost importance for freelance PR professionals to understand not everyone works according to their convenience.
Make sure you watch your watch.
2. “Is it a good time to talk?”
Greet the journalist before starting your monologue of the pitch. Introduce yourself and your company/brand and make sure you always ask if the journalist has those 2 minutes at his/her disposal to hear out your story idea.
It is always beneficial to be polite as this will leave a lasting impression on the journalist. Starting right away will only showcase you as a call center executive trying to sell a credit card.
3. A background check is a must!
Before calling a media professional make sure you do a thorough background check of the publication he/she works at. Journalists keep changing the media houses and the beats. You do not want to feel embarrassed on calls when being told the journalist does not work on the particular beat anymore. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Scanning through their LinkedIn profiles would not take much of your time. Also, while you are on it, do check if the story idea is relevant to the journalist. Make sure you are not repeating the same story that was done by him/her recently.
4. Concise, Precise and to the Point
Again, the journalist does not have all the time in the world to listen to your monologue. Brevity is the key! Talk to the point and hit the bull’s eye in preferably 5 sentences. That is all that the journalist has the time for and would listen to attentively. Do not drag it more than 5 sentences.
Remember to sell the newsworthy angle.
5. Look for the Silver Lining
There is a fine line between being persistent and being pushy. Persistence makes you impressive and pushy makes you annoying. Never call a journalist immediately after mailing the press release/pitch note. Give them the reading time and make a follow-up call after a day or two (depending on the timeliness of the story).
If the journalist sounds busy on the call, ask for a suitable time to call again. Don’t be that annoying person who keeps on talking without taking into consideration the other person’s time.
Keep these hacks in mind the next time you make a pitch call and see your story idea take shape – from a pitch note to an article in the publication you wanted it to get featured in.