How to get your pitch recognized

By Danny Cavanaugh

Pitching newsworthy stories to the media is essential for any PR pro. Whether you’re trying to give your organization an edge by winning over a journalist for the story you want, or you’re trying to promote your client within the local news, pitches are key in the daily life of a PR pro.

With that said, how many pitches do journalists receive every day? According to Nicole Fallon Taylor, she received “an average of 23 per workday,” prdaily.com. This is unfortunate because of how saturated journalist’s emails are becoming.

So, the big question is how can we get our pitch recognized, and not just thrown out?

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First of all,  make sure what you are pitching is newsworthy. In other words, is the audience going to be interested in your particular story? If your story isn’t newsworthy, the journalist won’t waste their time with you again.

Secondly, make the pitch personalized. Often times when you try to build a relationship with journalists and mention their name in the subject line, you will have a better chance of getting your pitch recognized. There’s nothing worse than saying “to whom it may concern.” That’s bad PR.

Lastly, be creative! According to Taylor, the pitches she accepted didn’t say the same old thing as everyone else. The one’s she accepted had a different outlook on a story, or a whole new perspective that was interesting.

Just remember, as a PR pro you will write pitches in your career. Have fun with them, make them personalized, newsworthy, and be creative! There’s nothing worse than a bland, non-relevant pitch!

 

 

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Jared’s strategic Iron Horse

By Danny Cavanaugh

Don’t ever skip out on a public figure coming to your organization to present information or give a speech on their expertise. It is important to pick their brain and gain knowledge for you own benefit. One of the best ways we can learn is through other experiences people have created.

Jared Vallejo from Iron Horse Brewery came into one of my classes at Central Washington University to give a speech on the brewery and the experiences he has had there. He talked about marketing strategies, the culture of the brewery, and some of the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.

However, what really stuck with me? What was the one thing that I related to and appreciated the most?

Don’t be afraid to fail! It sounds simple right? However, from my experiences inside and outside of school, successful people have always been bold, and they haven’t been afraid.

The best advice he gave us was to fail, fail some more and fail again. Why? It means you are trying! The worst thing you can do (from a business standpoint) is to become stagnant and boring. What I like about Jared and the IHB is their ability to adapt and create new marketing techniques to entice consumers into buying their products.

As a consumer, I’m always looking for something that interests me, excites me, and ultimately connects me to that product. What Jared and the rest of the brewery staff have accomplished is a culture that relates to their customers and the products they produce.beer-bottle

With that said, I work for a small business that is continuously trying to grow and expand. The words that Jared said to us will always stick with me, and entice me to adapt, create, and take chances on marketing campaigns throughout my own experiences.

Overall, failure is important, whether it’s in a business setting, or other aspects of our lives. Without failure, we won’t have success. After all, success develops through our experiences and chances we take in life.

They Won Fair and Square

By Danny Cavanaugh

Since the Patriots are yet again in the super bowl, why not bring up a sore subject for many New England fans… deflategate!

That’s right, I said it. The controversial deflating of footballs during the AFC championship between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts in 2015.

Talk about a PR nightmare! Hours upon hours of court proceedings, with one side winning, then the other side appealing. If I was a part of the PR staff for the patriots, or the NFL I would lose all of my hair.

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Talk about crisis PR in a nutshell. With the NFL (among others) investigating your franchise, as a PR professional you have to find a way to bring light to the situation and deflect the negativity away from your organization.

Easier said than done? I think so.

It’s easy for people in this situation to call the patriots “cheaters” because of their track record. If this was the patriots first trip to the super bowl, would people have blown this way out of proportion? That’s the million dollar question.

We all know that when you win, over and over again, people either love you or they hate you. Just look at the New York Yankees, you hardly ever hear “eh they’re alright, I don’t mind them.”

Thus, this is a great example of crisis PR. So, what would you do?

I would find out the truth behind the situation. I would research if the weather played in any part of decreasing the psi within the footballs. Also, you must protect your brand the best you can.

We would have to tell the truth, tell it all, tell it fast, and move on. After all, who wants to be in court two seasons later for something they thought was past them.

This just goes to show how important PR really is. It’s important to keep the integrity of your organization, as well as explain to the public was is going on behind closed doors.

Public Relations at its Core

By Danny Cavanaugh

To be honest, I never heard of PR until I looked at a college catalog. So, the first time I saw the name, I thought it was a joke. I’m thinking, “just another degree you can’t do anything with.” However, as I dug deeper, I realized I was wrong.

So, what is this phenomenon called PR? According to prsa.org, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Now, what does that mean? Essentially the goal of PR is to build a relationship between an organization (corporate, non-profit, firm) and the people within that organization’s society.

In other words, PR is important in portraying a positive representation of an organization. Yes, it is important to be a competent writer in this profession, however the relationships you build and maintain are essential, and in my opinion the most important aspect.

Here are just a few options you can pursue with a degree in Public Relations.

Career Paths:

  • Public Relations specialist
  • Public relations Manager
  • Public Relations Director
  • Investor Relations
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media Relations

Although there are several career paths in this field, there seems to be several misconceptions regarding PR professionals. First of all, they’re known for spinning the truth, secondly they’re called sleaze balls.

With that said, are these representations true? Maybe to some extent. However, we know there can always be a “few bad eggs.”

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Whether you think a PR professional is a spin doctor or not, it doesn’t matter to me. What matters is how rapidly the field is growing. PR professionals are needed now more than ever. The increase in technology, and social media has caused a frenzy for organizations and their reputations.

From writing press releases, to working on a company’s social media strategy, PR professionals will be seeking to improve relationships with their organizations and their communities.

I’m glad I was able to stumble up this often misconstrued and misunderstood field. After all, there is a lot you can do with a degree in Public Relations.

Citations:

Copyright 2009-17. In Public Relations Society of America online. Retrieved from.https://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/publicrelationsdefined/#.WH2wo8MrLnA