I studied Philosophy in college. It is safe to say that I spent more time listening to jazz and drinking PBR than I did studying PR.
However, I have always had a knack for pitching bloggers and media. It occurred to me that all of the successful tactics I use to pitch media I did in fact learn in college. I didn’t learn them from sitting in a classroom studying how to write a press release. Instead, I learned them from listening to jazz, drinking PBR and being a lush.
What did being a lush teach me about pitching media?
1. Call them when you don’t need them
You know those friends that you ONLY call at 3 a.m. when you need a ride home? The ones that always answer the phone and come pick you up and don’t ask questions? Oh, you don’t friends like that? It’s because they don’t exist.
If you ONLY email a blogger or editor when you need them to write about a client, you better have a REALLY good story. Follow them on Twitter, invite them to lunch and THEN talk to them about your client. (apply these tactics to friends and you will always have a ride home)
2. Always have a story
Did I ever tell you about that time I walked into a strangers house to use the bathroom at 7 a.m.? Or that time I tried to pick up a lawyer while bailing my friend out of jail? Of course I haven’t. I’m a professional, yo.
I am known for having the best, most ridiculous stories you have ever heard. Sometimes friends call me JUST to see what I have gotten myself into lately. They count on me having good stories.
Bloggers and editors are always looking for good stories to tell. You can’t just have a story when you launch a new product or campaign. If bloggers and editors know that you ALWAYS have a good story for them, they will call YOU to see what you have going on.
3. Learn how to make any story interesting
The sad thing about life (and PR) is that you can’t always have a good story. Sometimes, nothing is really happening and all of the stories you have up your sleeve aren’t that exciting. I always hated this, so I learned how to take an average night and turn it into a good story.
Learn what bloggers and editors are looking for in a story and then find a way to make your client’s story resemble that. Penelope Trunk can take ANY topic and relate it to career advice in an interesting way. Find a way to take your clients and make them relate to other topics in an interesting way and you will always have a story. Win!
4. Subject lines are key
I have seen SO many pitches with the world’s longest subject line. Somewhere PR girls everywhere were taught that the topic of your pitch should be in the subject line. In fact, most editors tell you to include your topic in the subject line. I am convinced that is just so they can quickly filter through the topics they don’t want to cover.
If I text a friend at 3am and say “I need a ride,” there is a 95% chance she will never text me back. Why would she? If I text a friend at 3am and say “Call me! Omg, I have the BEST story for you!” they will call me back because they want to hear the story. Success!
Here is my super secret subject line tactic: keep it vague. Give them enough of an idea of what is in that email to make them want to open it but not enough that they can decide they aren’t interested. A few that I use often: Potential Opportunity, Review Opportunity, Event Invite, (insert holiday here) Story.
5. How to make anyone your best friend
I have always been the girl who can walk into a room and make best friends with anyone there. This mostly mortifies my friends but this turned into a really useful career skill.
Here are my tactics for becoming best friends with anyone: compliment them on something to break the ice, find a common interest between you two and bring it up, tell them a good story and email them often.
This is really easy for me because I always like other people’s stuff.
So, there you have it folks, everything that being a lush taught me about pitching media. What have you learned today?