Pitch customization is the cornerstone of any solid media relations strategy. It’s an art form and requires practice for PR professionals to truly master. In the age of the 24-hour news cycle, however, simply tailoring a pitch to an individual reporter doesn’t always do the trick. We must continually remind ourselves that reporters are bombarded with emails and receive hundreds or even thousands on any given day. Reporters are under tremendous pressure from their editors and often just trying to keep the pace – especially during times like our recent election season. With that in mind, we must evolve and go beyond customization to successfully engage top-tier outlets and influencers.
A couple of weeks ago, Michael Smart’s edition of Winning with Smart PR touched on this very issue. His suggestion: Don’t merely customize your pitch. Empathize your pitch.
According to Smart, empathizing a pitch literally involves developing empathy for who you’re pitching by trying to understand what it’s like to be them. Beyond reading or watching their content, he suggests taking time to identify what makes the reporter tick and what type of relationship or dynamic they have with their audience – for instance, how the reporter communicates with their readers and in what tone. He even recommends imagining what their day has been like and checking out their LinkedIn profile. Only once you’ve developed a better sense for who the reporter or influencer is as a human being does Smart think you should begin crafting a pitch.
With the election finally behind us (phew!) and the holidays among us, there’s no better time to put Smart’s advice to the test. It’s no secret the holiday season can be chaotic both at work and at home. And, it’s likely whoever you’re reaching out to is exceptionally swamped with holiday-centric pitches. How can you make sure yours get noticed? Before hitting send on your next pitch, give some extra thought to not only if it will resonate with the reporter, but how it will help make their job a little bit easier.