Here at PWR, we spend a lot of time creating assets aimed at helping brands engage journalists and bloggers: microsites, digital releases, and other media-friendly content. Fortunately for us, we have some very brave and creative clients. And our creative team is always up for a new challenge. Like adventurers everywhere, not every effort delivers a win. But we are dedicated to learning, so we dust ourselves off, figure out what went wrong, and do better next time. And so often, we succeed. Amidst these successes, there are some themes that emerge, things that seem to make PR pitches more effective. Here are five we wanted to share because we think they’re pretty handy…
- Add transferable graphics. The media is always on the hunt for digital assets they can grab and reuse,
and graphics top the list. But “graphics” doesn’t just mean one product shot. Give journalists and bloggers options so they can choose from a variety of graphics (and include high and low res options for easy downloading). Get creative and think beyond just images to slideshows, infographics, gifs, pinfographics… If you’re a brand without a beautiful product, don’t get discouraged. Quotes, stats and data can be beautiful too; it just takes a little creativity–okay, and often a good designer–to turn them into transferable graphics the media will love.
- Animate key elements A dash of motion can go a long way, driving eyes to key messages and elevating your assets to stand out. We’re not suggesting you add animation to every pitch and we’re certainly not advising you to waste the media’s time–no journalist ever has told us they want to watch an illustrated clown sing a song before they can get to the 5 W’s! But animation is a great way to add organization to complex information and underscore main take-aways. Some of our favorite things to animate include maps, quotes, charts and motiongraphics.
- Focus on key social platforms. Making the most of social media is on the to-do list of most communications professionals we work with. But with brands engaged across such a broad spectrum, crafting social calls-to-action that stand out can be a challenge. We’ve had some great success focusing on targeted platforms and integrating them into pitches. For example, if you have great stats or quotes, consider sharable cards that are designed with Twitter and Facebook in mind. If you’re promoting an event hashtag, integrate a Twitter wiki into your microsite/newsroom/digital release so journalists can follow the conversation, even if they’re not platform savvy. And if you’re images are lovely and Pinterest friendly, make them pinable so the media can easily share and pass on that functionality to their own readers.
- Tell a story. Journalists are storytellers. And storytellers love good stories. So think about what is most human in your pitch. How does your product change a life or solve a human problem? What is the pain, challenge or obstacle solved by your service? Dig deeper and think beyond those 5 W to reveal the human emotions that swirl around your product or service. Fear? Joy? Pain? Love? This doesn’t necessarily mean replacing a news release with a brand story (formerly known as case studies). Rather, consider adding sidebars that highlight customer journeys, showing how real people have interacted with your brand in ways that are life affirming, or at least helpful.
- Include some pithy take-aways. Let’s face it: the internet is overloaded with info and asking the media to pay attention to you is a pretty tall order. Making your pitch scannable is a great way to capture attention. If your pitch is solid (and it is, of course), some of the journalists you approach will like what they see at a glance and happily spend more time with your pitch. Listicles are popular with our clients now because they tend to get great traction. But simple things like adding a few bullet points (ideally 3… because that number is just magical) to the top of a release to make it more scannable can help a pitch stand out. Similarly, adding assets like recipes, tutorials, and tactical tips the media can grab and reuse can be useful. And don’t forget, most pitches are arriving via email and using the medium properly is a must to scannability.
We hope these tips come in handy for your next pitch. Have some great ideas we haven’t considered? Get in touch anytime–we do love a new adventure.