This might sound weird, but it isn’t the end of a campaign I like, it’s the start. Sure, campaigns are great and seeing the stats at the end is satisfying, but you know what’s validating? Having an exec look at your idea and say “yes.”
I love that feeling. But it took me years to nail it. Pitching PR campaigns is tough. And there’s more to it than people think. It isn’t just a question of delivering a great pitch, you have to think about time and you have to think about data.
You also have to consider the fact that 20% of execs don’t actually know what PR stands for. It can be an uphill struggle. And having undertaken this Sisyphean task so many times, I don’t want you to have to struggle. So if you’re in PR, listen up. And if you’re an exec or decision-maker, you might find something of value too. You certainly won’t be in that 20%.
Time spent wishing is time wasted
I work for a digital marketing agency. That means every hour I spend preparing a pitch is client time that could be spent working on campaigns and delivering results. It’s very rare for any PR exec to have all the time in the world to prepare a campaign pitch. More than once I’ve been pulling all-nighters when it comes to crunch time. You can reduce the time by streamlining your pre-pitch process.
- Keep a repository of research you can always refer to
- Create template presentations and pitch documents
- Keep your buyer personas and demographic data to hand
- Organize stock images by theme or subject
Formalize the process. Write down the steps and work through them. We’re creatures of habit and pattern recognition. Our brains love repeating tasks, so treat it with your pre-pitch process.
Because that’s the big secret: Even though every campaign and idea is unique, pitching never changes.
There’s a saying that pops up in our agency a lot: “What’s your source?” The easiest way to get people to buy into your creative campaign idea is to show your stakeholders that it will actually work. One of the tools I use is Google Data Studio. It allows me to easily visualize the client’s data and consumer insights and present them in a way that actually makes sense.
Because that’s the downside of data. It can be a bit unwieldy. In order to get buy-in from your stakeholders, you need to present data in a way that makes sense to anyone. Think like an author; show, don’t tell.
2.Next day level delivery
Your pitch needs to be like an Amazon delivery: engaging, fast and easy.
People are going to have questions, so anticipate them. The key to any pitch is to know all the questions and know all the answers.
3.Get them curious
First, you need to get your stakeholders curious. Curiosity is great because you don’t just have someone’s attention, you give them a stake in your pitch. They’re invested because they want to know the answer. You can generate curiosity by posing questions or scenarios that aren’t immediately expected. So instead of saying “Here’s my idea for Q2’s campaign: Branded dog collars,” bury the lede and introduce a bit of mystery.
“There’s only one thing dog owners care about in 2020 and I want us to put our brand on it.” Don’t waste people’s time though. Don’t be attention-grabbing for no reason. Find a link that relates to your idea and find a way to perform a…
4. Master pitch flow
… flawless segue. Break your pitch up into sections. Then, instead of introducing each part at the start, introduce it at the end of the previous section. This is an old Ogilvy trick designed to keep people reading copy. And it works because you lead people seamlessly from one point to the next.
You keep people’s attention and keep the pace of your pitch at the right level. People are going to have questions, so anticipate them. The key to any pitch is to know all the questions and know all the answers. Doing this doesn’t just make you look good. It prevents your pitch from becoming mired in unexpected digressions.
5.Make hard things easy
I originally wrote this section as “Transform the complex into the simple.” It proves my point perfectly. A successful pitch needs to be detailed and backed up with evidence, but also easy to understand. So first, stick to simple language. Remove all acronyms and buzzwords. Assume the people you’re pitching to read at an 8th-grade level (because that’s the average). Next, take your demographic graphs and marketing data and present it in a clear and concise way.
- Use graphs rather than tables
- Keep colors consistent throughout
- Only show the necessary data
- Justify relationships by blending data sets together
Getting people to buy into your idea is vital for PR. Not only do you need the authority and budget to pull off your campaign, you need to make sure that all your stakeholders understand what you’re doing.
I’m not here to help you come up with a great idea. That’s on you. But these tips will help you get your idea over the line and give you the validation that comes with knowing that people believe in your ideas. Use your time wisely.
Plan, prepare and process. Leverage data as much as you can. Look hard enough and you’ll find the data you need to support your premise.
Finally, get in there and pitch like a pro!
About Emma: Emma Rostron is Account Manager at MRS Digital, an SEO agency based in Hampshire. She specializes in creating and managing digital marketing campaigns for businesses and entrepreneurs.
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