Phone pitches play an important role in getting publicity for your company.
The problem is that very few business owners know how to do pitches well. Instead of hooking a reporter on a solid story idea, many phone pitches are either annoying or incapable of generating a viable news story.
The average reporter is bombarded with pitches and it's going to take a lot for your pitch to stand out from the crowd. Here's what you need to know if you want to have a realistic chance of converting your phone pitch into a published article:
- Make sure the reporter prefers phone pitches. The first step toward a successful phone pitch is to make sure the journalist prefers to be pitched by phone. Public relations experts indicate that eight out of ten journalists prefer to be pitched by email.
- Ask if this is a good time. A simple "Is this a good time to talk?" might seem a little trite, but reporters still appreciate it. If it isn't a good time, try to pin the journalist down to a better time rather than leaving it open-ended.
- Have a succinct opening line. The opening line is the most important line of a phone pitch. It should reduce the entire pitch down to a single sentence that grabs the reporter's attention without making shocking or exaggerated claims.
- Be clear and concise. Your entire pitch should strive to give the journalist with a clear and concise view of your story idea. If the pitch rambles or takes more than thirty seconds to deliver, you've said too much.
- Use examples sparingly. Real life applications are a great way to paint a picture when you're pitching to a reporter by phone. But since you only have thirty seconds for the pitch, you'll need to rely on short examples and descriptive language to get your point across.
- Provide quick follow up. The follow up clock starts ticking the second you hang up the phone. If you promise to provide the reporter with follow-up information, it's best to do it while your pitch is still fresh in his mind.
- Don't take no for an answer. Actually, sometimes you have to take no for answer. But if the reporter shoots down your story idea, use the rejection as a springboard to politely ask him about the kinds of stories he is looking for.