Pitching the Way They Like It: Creative Pitching for Radio

Need to get your client on radio? Have you pitched and followed up 17 times by email and phone calls? What do your pitches look like? Are they boring and wordy? Do you say the same thing every single time?

In this fast paced world of social media and multiple pathways of communication with all kind of people, our pitches need to be fast paced, versatile, and exciting.
Whether you’re pitching via Twitter, sending a good old fashioned email, or leaving a voicemail, your message needs to be crystal clear, interesting, direct, and straight to the point. These kinds of pitches are going to get you more results.

Knowing how your contact likes to be pitched is important, but pitching them something they’ll want to read is even more important. It doesn’t matter what your subject matter is – whether it’s a niche topic or breaking news – what matters is how you deliver the news.

A good subject or headline will get them interested. Using a bullet pointed list to clearly layout the 3-5 main points will immediately let them know what you’re pitching and what you want them to do about it. This straight-to-the-point, crystal clear style of pitching applies to any topic or theme and will help your client’s message be seen and heard by those who can get it heard on the airwaves.

Once you have a clear message and an engaging style, you can use the power of multiple platforms to get through to your producer or host. Send an email, follow up with a phone call, then try a quick contact through Twitter or Facebook. Don’t be pushy or annoying, just be available through any avenue that person uses to get pitches. Just like in marketing, you need to be talking where your audience is listening and pitching in the way they like to be pitched.

The moral of our story is that the successful publicist must write pitches that will get results and then must get those pitches out in various ways. Our publicists have not only perfected these principles, but continue the follow up with pleasant persistence until we get an answer. Patience, positivity, and hard work pay off.

Leaving a Great Voicemail (Smile): how to say it all in 30 seconds

By Booth Media Group

If you’ve been in PR for more than five minutes, you know voicemail is as ubiquitous as coffee in this field. Even if you do a fair amount of your pitching and follow up by email, being able to leave effective voicemails is an essential skill.

There is a lot of talk out there about the “Elevator Pitch,” the quick version of your message that can be delivered in the time it takes an elevator to reach its destination. This is a valuable exercise not only for job or investment seekers, but also for PR professionals in search of a favorable media contact. When you’ve been calling all day, each voicemail, each interaction, is a priceless possibility – so that message needs to have oomph, elegance, and a bit of conviction.

To have any hope of convincing your listener, you must be believable and concise. Know your point: What is the point of your call? To get an interview or review. What is the point of your client’s message? That is the hard part: to become an expert on someone else’s book or endeavor so that you can sound like it is your own. Studying the material is of course important, but so is practicing your “elevator pitch.” Be able to tell whoever answers the phone exactly what you want and why they need to say yes. If they can’t tell what the heart of your message is within 30 seconds, you’re saying too much. Trim it down so it’s blindingly obvious to anyone listening.

If you are having trouble with this, grab a friend or a tape recorder and practice your pitch until you can say the whole thing in 30-45 seconds with all relevant details: Who, What, Why, and How to book an interview. If your media contact wants to know more, be ready to answer questions and describe in greater detail why your client is a great fit for the show, newspaper, or other platform. But you’ll only get that opportunity if you start off with confidence and clarity.

We recommend taking a deep breath as the person on the other end says, “hello,” and smiling while you introduce yourself. While quickly and clearly pitching your client, keep smiling, and remember to be pleasant and helpful, not pushy or demanding. It’s important not to sound like you’re rehearsing a speech that’s been given a hundred times before, so keeping just a few bullet points of your topics and themes in front of you on a post-it note will help you sound conversational and casual. Sounding like a human being and not like a recording can go a long way to keeping the interest of your listener. Be a human!

A great, short, and interesting pitch can be the difference between yet another nonresponsive contact, and a producer or editor who becomes a valuable resource. Get cracking on practicing!

The Art of Follow Up

by Booth Media Group

Good things come to those who work. And better things come to those who work hard. In PR, the hard work is the follow up. We send out press kits, packages, and pitches with what sometimes feels like wild abandon. Desks around the world are graced with materials from our office. The inboxes of countless producers and editors hold striking PDF press kits attached to friendly email pitches from our publicists with compelling subject lines. But is it enough to put together a beautiful press kit complete with sample interview questions, compelling topics, and a riveting press release on colored paper?

Of course you know the answer is, “No!”

At Booth Media Group, we pride ourselves on being “Pleasantly Persistent” in our efforts to work with the media. Whether we leave voice messages or send emails, we always have a smile in our voice and are clear in our emails. We know our media contacts are incredibly busy, often getting hundreds of messages and emails each day. To make it easy for the media to book our clients, we send multiple emails (but not too often!) and call frequently in order to have the best chance at speaking to a live person.

We often hear that the 10th email was the ticket, or that the 7th call that ended in a conversation was just what the media wanted. “Oh, thank you for trying again! I wanted to book with you but the email got lost in my inbox,” they say. Or, “So glad you emailed again. The timing is perfect right now as we are covering politics all week. Your client is perfect to have on the show to discuss the primaries.” That extra mile is one of the keys to our success in results. Being the right person at the right time takes persistence.

And when that last email results in a “No, thank you; we’ll pass this time,” we never argue. We’re just glad to be considered and to get a response. After all, no one likes arguing with a stranger about something they don’t want. It makes no sense to burn bridges with the media just because they’re not interested in this story; they might love the next one, so we need to let them know we respect them even when they say no.

The art to follow up is to realize that the media are people, too. Let’s make their lives easier by making it simple to say “Yes, let’s book!” That way, we all win.

5 timeless truths about PR

By Booth Media Group

1. We’re all human. That’s right – you’re a person, and the people on the other end of the email or phone are people, too. So, talk to them like people. Put some dang personality into your pitches and your follow up messages. Think you’re tired of leaving the same voicemail 100 times? Try listening to it over and over. It’s ok to be a little spicy (professionally speaking, of course.)

2. Grammar matters. Typos display a lack of care. Do you like getting emails from strangers rife with dropped words and misplaced modifiers? Probably not. Double check your spelling!

3. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. If you say you’ll call back at 1:09 pm PST, then do it. Make a note, set an alarm, tie a whole ball of yarn around your finger. Follow through on your word. And if they say, “Thanks for the pitch, but no thanks,” don’t argue – respectfully accept this professional rejection and leave the bridge to that producer solidly in place for the next client.

4. Your listeners can hear the smile in your voice. But the reverse is also true: you can hear the smile (or lack thereof) in their voice, so be ready to adjust your pitch as needed to match the mood of the person on the other end. Are they sounding stressed right now? Offer to call back later. Do they sound like they want to chat a bit? Throw in some small talk – see point 1: you’re both humans!

5. Do for others what you would want done for you. So you need interviews and bookings for your clients, and that is why you’re calling and following up with the media. But what do they need? Be aware and alert of what your contacts are looking for – if you are genuinely helpful in providing good stories, guests, and information, you move from being an annoying fly buzzing around their voicemail to a valued friend or respected resource. And in this business, friends and valuable resources matter.