Crafting A Successful PR Pitch

The primary focus of a public relations campaign needs to be meeting the media’s needs.  If you don’t accomplish that, you’re missing the mark.  Meet the media’s needs and you’ll meet yours.  As I’ve stated in other articles, leading with statistics can be an effective approach.  Let’s say you’re a health care worker that deals with chronic pain.  Or you produce a supplement that helps relieve pain; you can lead with the fact that chronic pain affects approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population and three-fifths of adults 65 or older.  Find some studies and statistics that you can quote that illustrate that the story you’re pitching does indeed affect a large number of people.

Numbers and statistics help give a PR pitch gravitas.  Also never forget that the media is interested in their own type of statistics; they’re interested in the number of viewers, readers or listeners that will be interested in this story.  So the more you can assure them that this is a story that not only affects, but will also interest a large target market, the better your chances of landing a story.  Once you’ve used your statistics to narrow down your specific pitch, you can then take a reverse course and broaden your pitch.  For example if you use statistics to show how pain affects older Americans, after making that point, you can then add a sentence stating that this type of pain does not only strike seniors, but a wide range of people, from professional athletes and weekend jocks to those who suffer with fibromyalgia and arthritis, who deal with bouts of acute and chronic pain.

Use statistics to give your pitches credibility.  For example, if you’re pitching a story about complementary medicine, look online for stats regarding how popular alternative and complementary medicine has become.  Then, depending on the specific angle of the story you’re pitching, you can use those statistics to illustrate why your story idea is both important and timely.  Now use those statistics in your press releases and pitches.

After making a specific pitch, close with other topics and angles that you can address.  Include a short (very short) bio listing your expertise and qualifications and that you can also address such topics as (fill in the blank).  That way if your particular pitch doesn’t work for an editor or producer, they can see that there are other topics that you can address.

Using statistics, numbers and figures can help anchor a pitch and a story, but don’t rely on stats alone; the main part of your pitch needs to be compelling and newsworthy.  So, when launching a media relations campaign, keep the media’s needs in mind; first develop your pitch and then look for stats that help give your story idea credence.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Learning the PR Mindset

Launching and sustaining a public relations campaign is an ongoing process.  In the PR world, you are continually refining and modifying your approach, pitches, story ideas, and media lists.  If a basic pitch is working, you want to stay with it for a bit.  One mistake I’ve seen companies make is that they try to continually send out new pitches and releases simply for the sake of getting new information out to the media. This mindset of continually writing press releases that aren’t newsworthy in order to keep new information flowing, is a dangerous one.   Yes you want to offer the media new angles, pitches and media hooks, but you don’t want to send out new information unless it’s truly warranted.

Monitor how your media pitches and press releases are being received.  If a pitch you sent out six weeks ago is gaining traction and garnering media coverage, stay with that story.  Work it; develop it; use the media coverage you’re now landing to garner more media coverage.  Don’t shift your focus simply because your calendar says it’s time for a new media release.  Truth is that media relations is more of an art than a science (which drives most left brainers crazy).  If you try to simply set up a mechanical or statistical PR gameplan and allow that to dictate the campaign, you’re in trouble

As with the media itself an effective public relations campaign is fluid.  It is both proactive and reactive. If a national story breaks and you can tie your story to it, you need to be able to react, move quickly and change your approach.  If, on the other hand, a pitch is working and gaining traction, you want to stay with it, work it and keep it moving.  Media relations can be difficult for those who need to follow a specific course set-in-stone approach.  It is an ever changing, continually evolving practice.

Begin by creating a list of objectives that you want to achieve before launching a media relations campaign.  Now come up with a list of story angles and media pitches that you can use.   When it comes to PR brainstorming, your goal is to create a list of the most important story ideas including: new business concepts, the unique value you offer, important information you can give, and anecdotal stories.  Part of that process is to give some thought to how and why you can be presented as an expert in your overall field.

Initially you want to come up with your story ideas and media pitches, followed by your target media lists.  Create specific objectives, but allow the campaign the ability to shift and change course.  Developing an effective PR strategy is not unlike creating an effective sports gameplan.  You develop a strategy and draw up specific plays, but you also allow yourself the ability to act and react depending on what comes at you. There is an intuitive aspect to the PR process that has to allow for action and reaction.  You want to set up a specific target and gameplan, but you need to be able to shift and alter your plan as needed.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Media Training Secrets for Business Success

When I began in the public relations world over twenty years ago (that’s daunting), I quickly realized that landing an interview or a story for a client was only a part of the process.  Early on that first part of the process was my primary focus.  My job was to garner media coverage for my clients on TV, print or radio (this was actually pre social media days) and that was that.  Well I soon learned there was a huge difference between simply landing an interview and having the client give the media a successful interview.

Clients need to be prepared to speak to the media.  Although the best interviews seem like conversations, in fact they are not.  Both the interviewer and the interviewee have an agenda.  The interviewer wants to interest his or her target audience; the interviewee wants to get his or her message across, which should include a call to action.  Interviews work when the questions and answers flow and the agendas don’t clash.  But this is easier said than done.  After having producers and editors give me some tough but needed feedback about clients who were either boring or were too pushy, I realized that in order to achieve real PR success, media training was needed.

That’s when I brought on Ann Convery.  Ann has served as our media trainer since then.  She is now an international speaker, seminar leader, trainer and author who has prepared clients for interviews on Oprah, CNN, 60 Minutes, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, as well as hundreds of local, regional and trade-oriented media outlets.  Ann’s gift is to teach clients how to distill their message and speak to the media in a way that meets the media’s needs but also meets the client’s needs.

For a PR or media relations campaign to be successful, landing interviews and media coverage is not enough.  Clients need to be able to deliver their message in a clear, succulent, informative and entertaining manner.  Easier said than done, but it is a skill that can be learned.   For years Ann has prepared our clients to do just that, deliver effective and successful media interviews.

But her real genius was her ability to connect the dots and realize that the ability to effectively communicate with the media could be just as powerful and effective when communicating in the business world.  Using her media training skills and techniques, she developed Speak Your Business in 30 Seconds or Less.  Speak Your Business is a system that shows you how to find very specific words and numbers – found only in your business – so that you are effortlessly speaking and writing directly to the hidden, hungry “buying” brain in your prospects, every time.  Utilizing these tools, many of Ann’s clients have generated up to thousands of dollars in business within months with her Signature Series program, “You’re So Brilliant. Why Don’t They Buy?”

The bottom line is if you’re going to launch a public relations campaign for you and your business, you first need to master the art of effectively communicating.  Just last month a client who assured me he had been media trained and was set to do interviews, came off looking like a deer in the headlights when we landed him a spot on a TV news program.   Believe me, media training is a skill that will serve you well.   More importantly, as Ann teaches, these communication tools and skills work whether you’re talking to the media, delivering a speech, networking or making a phone call to a prospect.

For more information visit:   www.annconvery.com     

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

From Guest Blogger, Ann Convery: Here Comes the Bride, er, Sale

Heads up:  Be sure to read the P.S. !

Jeannie was a corporate coach who expertly guided managers into creating contented, committed employees.

Her clients adored her.

But Jeannie was miserable…and broke.

Why?

Jeannie hated sales.

“I love talking to people, I love teaching, but I hate the selling part,” she said, with a shudder.

When you hate the “selling part”…

1. You will linger in the friendly, feel-good get-to-know-you phase.

2. You will not move the process forward.

3. You may be getting other needs met through your business,

such as being liked and getting approval.

4. You may develop a warm, close relationship with your prospect,

so you’re mystified when they don’t buy.

5. You may sabotage your own attempts to get new clients.

 

And you will baffle your prospects, who could use your superb service, because you never make them a clear offer.

 

Jeannie’s Big Mistake:

She thought of “the selling part” as a single, lone event occurring all by itself.

It’s not.

If you think of the selling part as “that awful thing you have to go through,” like a root canal, it will never occur to you to set up the sale.

When you set up to sell, 50%, sometimes 75%, of your work is already done.

Selling is a lot like dating.

When you go on a first date, is your first question, “So, what do we name the kids?”

I think not.

Closing a sale is like walking down the aisle.

It’s the result of small, careful steps of preparation.

You prepare your prospect to have that selling conversation with you by:

Having a tantalizing opening conversation that makes them want to hear more

Sending a follow-up report or quiz with a gripping title that you offer them before that first conversation is ove

You may also snail-mail them  your report, to impress them

  • You have a website loaded with content that speaks to their pressing needs and challenges
  • You make a follow-up call asking what they thought of the report
  • You have a short follow-up conversation to discuss their biggest goals and challenges
  • You offer an invitation to spend an hour going deeper into their goals and challenges, and your offer
  • If applicable, you send a questionnaire that they can fill out before they speak with you again

This is setting up to sell.

It’s romancing your prospect.

Jeannie added a few extra twists to this process:

 

  • She had an intern send out her report, and  set up the follow-up call, so she looked like a bigger company.
  • She made sure her report nailed the emotional pain her prospects felt – in detail.
  • She had her intern set up the sales conversation, 10 days later. (Use the time lag for big-ticket items only.)
  • She had her intern mail them another freebie – a “Management Bible”, before the call.
  • She had the intern email a questionnaire, instructing the client to return it in 48 hours of the sales conversation.

The subliminal message to her prospects was:

1. I have to wait 10 days?  Her time is valuable.

2. She has a staff.  She must be doing well.

3. She knows our problem cold.

4. This is not going to be cheap.

By the time Jeannie called her prospects to have the selling conversation, she knew as much about them as they did about her.

She was extremely well prepared to discuss their challenges and goals.

Probing deeper into their problems was easy,  since she already knew what their biggest problems were                                                  

Prospects viewed her with more respect, which helped her keep her boundaries and conduct the BD Session like a pro.

Stating her fees was much easier, since they had been psychologically prepared to consider a serious investment.

She followed a sales script, deliberately guiding them through every step they needed to go through to become her client.

And…

She closed 3 new big-ticket clients in 65 days.

Why?

She had set up to sell.

She had romanced her clients.

She had gone from the first date to walking down the aisle with her new clients.

There are many other ways to set up a sale, stay tuned.

But when you realize selling is part of a deliberate process, selling becomes just another step along the way.

Try it.  It works!

Ann

P.S. … Just a heads up that I am going to be opening up a 4 month Platinum VIP Coaching Program in the next few days.

We only have spots for 5 people so when you see the email let me know if you want me to help you.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

 

Creating The Perfect Holiday PR Pitch: Tapping Into The Billion $ Spending Season

The holiday season represents a huge opportunity when in comes to selling your product or service.  According to the National Retail Federation, “in 2010, holiday sales increased 5.2% to $452.9 billion, which was a significant improvement from the -0.4% decrease in 2009. On average, holiday sales have increased 2.6% per year for the last 10 years.  For some retailers, the holiday season can represent anywhere between 25-40% of annual sales. In 2010, holiday sales represented 19.4% of total retail industry sales.”

And that’s just retail.  Just about any business or service can utilize the holidays to boost sales.  We generally think of the season boosting sales of clothing, jewelry or electronics, which is does, but those are just the obvious ones.  Think about it, if you’re a florist, what better way to make the holidays cheerier.  If you’re a psychotherapist, there is help for the holiday blues.  If hairstylist, cosmetic surgeon or make up artist, you can help create a new look for the new year.  If you’re a restaurateur you can offer the perfect holiday meal. If you’re a marketer or business advisor, there is no better time to prepare for the new year, you get the idea.  If you’re in the FBI or CIA, the pitch might be a bit more troublesome, but overall, generally there is going to be a way that you can pitch your business, product or service during the holiday season.

I realize that you might feel that the commercialization of the holiday season has gone too far (and you’re right), still the last quarter of the year presents unique opportunities to get your story out to the media, your customers and your prospects.   The holiday season is a time when people loosen their purse strings and spend money.  It’s a time when people spend on others and themselves.  It’s also a time when the media is looking for story ideas with holiday themed gift guides and a stories having to do with holiday gifts, gadgets and products.

What you need to do is drill down and develop story ideas that speak to the needs of the various media outlets.  Remember during this time you need to tie your media angle and pitch to the holidays and you need to keep the needs of the various media outlets you’re pitching in mind.  TV is a visual medium, so you want to pitch them a visual hook.  If you have a product that you can bring on and show, that helps, or if you do a quick makeover that that could work.  Print needs a strong story.  If you can tie your product in with a cause, charity or local angle, that can give you a step up.

My next, and final, holiday-oriented PR article will review some specific pitch ideas you can create and use to garner press coverage during the holiday season.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

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