As an active member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) I have a fondness for the organisation that has attempted to regulate the industry and which has keenly provided public relations practitioners with an overarching body of support. Although I do feel there is still much potential for the PRIA to function as a widely acknowledged authority, they have certainly given members and guests a great number of events for professional development and networking. The Perfect Pitch, hosted by the New Practitioners Committee last Thursday 16 July, is one such function that was a great success and an exquisite example of #prjournolove.
Inviting journalists to speak to a room full of PR practitioners about what constitutes a perfect pitch can only lead to a greater understanding between the two professions, bridging the gap of ‘us and them’. I know I have blogged about this topic before but my determination to see the PR versus Journalism ‘issue’ dissolve is strong. The journalists who generously gave their time to speak with the so called other side were: Erin Kisby (Health and Lifestyle Editor at New Idea), Ben Ulm (EP at Nine), Hannah Rand (Senior Editor at Sunday Magazine) and Peter Blasina otherwise known as the Gadget Guy (tech expert for Seven and a hots of other media outlets including his own publications).
The general consensus from the speakers came down to three main points:
- know the media publication you are pitching to and target the appropriate section and journalist
- timing is everything – know the lead times and when media deadlines are and don’t contact them at these times
- pitch succinctly and factually; get straight to the point in email and/or phone pitching
I was relieved to know that I already practice these pitching gospels but it was the face to face contact with each of these journalists that I believe holds the key for successful relationship building. Making to effort to get to know a journalist, their role and their media outlet shows respect and understanding for their side of the story. This, in turn, will assist a PR in pitching the most effective angle and, when a relationship beyond pitching and following up has been established, the pitch will more than likely be considered.
For the better established PR Journalist relationships, an average pitch may be discussed by both parties to develop a stronger angle which is a truly magnificent display of #prjournolove. A brilliant example was given by Peter Blasina about a persistent PR professional who did some extraordinary research to secure Peter’s interest which lead to astounding results for an online golf store. [Here’s your challenge and prompt – for more information about this example, why not use it as a lead in to get to know the Gadget Guy?]
Although it can seem daunting and just a little bit scary to go the extra mile to get to know the media you are pitching to, it is worth it. As PRs, we should already be good at networking and by showing respect and willingness to better understand journalists we can all spread the #prjournolove for those who determine how successful a media relations campaign will be. Try it. You might like it.