The ultimate PR irony: pitching is complicated, and chances are you will receive a significantly larger amount of declines, than yesses. However, if you don’t get those rock star placements that are expected from you, you will be left with many angry clients (and that is NEVER fun!).
Nothing is more frustrating than constantly pitching and getting no results; it can make PR feel very overwhelming. When it comes to pitching, don’t just shoot in the dark and hope something sticks. Instead, come up with a calculated approach that works for you. Go back, and look at the pitches that landed your last 5 major placements. Ask yourself: What did you do correctly? Are there common themes within these pitches? Take some time to study your pitches to see what is working and what isn’t. Copy the format of the pitches that are working because there is no need to reinvent the wheel every time you start a new project.
In my career, I have probably sent thousands of pitches for hundreds of different companies. I have come up with some universal DOs and DON’Ts that will hopefully make life a little easier:
DO keep it short.
Your pitches shouldn’t be novels. My rule of thumb is to keep pitches between 4-5 sentences; each word in a pitch should be extremely necessary. Before you even start writing pitches, you should be able to summarize your client’s products, purpose and unique qualities in a 30 second elevator pitch. If your messaging and wording is organized from the beginning, it will help you to be concise throughout the campaign.
What do I mean by this? It is simple: say what you are looking for. When you e-mail an editor, they know you are looking for a placement in some shape or form. It saves them a lot of trouble if you just say where your client would be a good fit. Are they good for a contributed piece? Do they fit as an expert? An editor gets thousands of e-mails a day, they appreciate anything that saves time. You aren’t being demanding if you spell it out for them in black and white.
DO use images.
Remember the old adage, a picture says a thousand words? Well, this is very true in PR, especially in our digital age. Your pitches don’t have to only include text; instead, paste images below your signature. If an editor opens your email, and sees how cool the product is through images, then you have them hooked. Some fashion publicists might disagree, but I have found that sending images on a white background, as opposed to editorialized images, to work best.
DON’T be wishy-washy in the subject line.
Be authoritative! By the time an editor opens your e-mail, they should know what you are looking for. Use your best judgment to pick the most eye-catching characteristic about the company. For example, if the CEO is well known, use their name in the subject line. Or if the company itself is popular, make sure to include the name in your subject time. There is no need to be cryptic, and use ambiguous phrases like Fortune 500 Company, nationally known fashion expert. Instead, include specific details, which will up the chances of your e-mail getting read.
There is not a one-size fits all strategy for pitching; you really have to see what works for you and your client. When you start pitching on a regular basis, you will start to see patterns of what works and what doesn’t. Great pitches along with a healthy dose of persistence are the key to getting tier one placements! For more PR secrets to landing fashion media coverage, check out PR Couture's 56-page ebook, Pitch Perfect.
Rebekah Epstein is the founder of fifteen media, an agency that works exclusively with PR firms to streamline media relations in a digital era. She specializes in business, lifestyle, fashion and beauty. Rebekah also blogs about all things Gen Y at NeonNotebook. Follow her at @BekahEpstein.
Photo Credit: Hernan Irastorza