More Strikes with PR Pitching – by Doug Karr
I’ve worked in targeted marketing now for over 20 years. The rules of targeted marketing are pretty simple – get the right message to the right person at the right time. It’s a lot like baseball, where pitchers throw the right pitch to the right batter at the right time. The goal of the pitcher isn’t to throw more pitches; it’s to throw the least amount of pitches necessary to get to the next inning and, ultimately, to win the game.
Mass marketing has always brought different results. Mass marketing doesn’t work with baseball… the number of strikes is always the same so adding more pitches doesn’t win the game. In my opinion, pitching for strikes is not unlike public relation pitches. I believe there are a finite number of batters and the opportunities to get a strike are much less common than public relations professionals think.
The Marketing Technology Blog receives dozens of pitches every single day from public relations professionals. I would classify the PR pitching we see like this:
- Perfect pitches – I have a select group of PR professionals that I always listen to. They know me, they know my audience, and they know what kind of articles that I post. I have a dozen or so PR professionals like this, and one of them is even an author on my blog because I trust her so much!
- Strikes – If you want to throw a strike, don’t pass a press release with an opening line asking if I want to talk to the CEO of your client. PR pitching throws a strike when the pitch is personalized, succinct, and offers everything I need for a great article – some screenshots or a video, some bullet points, a quote and a unique idea just for my audience (hint: read my latest posts).
- Balls – We get tons of pitches every day for company news and we never write about company news. We also get a lot of PR pitching from companies that have nothing to do with marketing… I have no idea why. And we get tons of terrible PR pitchings every day where the public relations professional can’t explain to me why they sent it to me (I often ask). I route these PR domains directly to my Junk Folder so I don’t get any in the future.
The value of investing in a public relations firm is the relations. The best firms and the best pitches that I receive are from PR companies who have worked hard to build a relationship with me. They’ve called me, they’ve emailed me, they’ve commented on my publication, and they understand how I write, what I write, and who I am writing to.
If you own a PR firm and you’re measuring the performance of your team based on the number of pitches they’re sending, you very well could be driving your business into the ground. A pitcher throwing balls the entire game is never going to win. When you build your relations, you’re adding value to your PR firm and it will ultimately lead to more strikes.
TIP: Email is a visual medium and I’d encourage you to use email marketing software that allows you to put your PR firm logo and a photo of your public relations professional in every email. Publishers will easily identify you and listen when they recognize you. As well, emails sent with these systems will allow publishers to opt-out of communications that aren’t relevant. Your cut and paste emails from Outlook simply aren’t cutting it anymore!