You’re sitting at your desk, either ready to press the send button or make a phone call — but you freeze. “What will they think?” “Is this good enough?” “Will I get a response?” These are all questions that circulate in our beautiful brains when we’re getting ready to pitch the media. But fret not, there are a number of ways to get over pre-pitch anxiety – or the PR jitters as we call them – and we’re here to help.
We all have some form of anxiety when we just want to do a
good great job, but the important part is to put your best foot forward. Besides some non-traditional fixes like going on a 5-mile jog or perhaps doing a chanting meditation, we’ve thought of a few ways to build your confidence and prepare for pitching that will help you be more successful.
Do Your Research
Before you decide to send a pitch, get to know who you’re talking to. You often don’t approach someone at a networking event and just start talking about your client without gauging their interest, so don’t do that to a journalist. Research their favorite topics, their writing style and even if they have a pet.
I once got a big PR HIT for a client after researching a reporter and referencing the fact that he was once an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman. It had absolutely nothing to do with the pitch but he got the hint that I read his bio and he reciprocated by reading the rest of my pitch.
The best pitches are developed through research. There are so many resources available that help us get to know journalists, like Muckrack and Cision, that we honestly have no excuse not to know who we’re emailing. If you prefer a little more information, read their online profiles on the sites they write for or check out their social media profiles.
Believe it or not, journalists like talking to real people. Sometimes I think of pitching like dating. On a first date, you’re telling your story and doing it in a way that will keep someone engaged and interested enough to want to hear more. So what are you saying on your imaginary date with your respective journalist? You’ve done your research, now use it and get the story right. Think of pitching as more of a conversation and honestly, you’re helping them think of a unique story another journalist won’t be writing. Give them the most relevant information up front and a few key details (think data and statistics) that will get them excited to take it back to their editor.
One of our resident former journalists gave you a few pitch tips that will help you stay on a reporter’s good side. The best PR professionals operate more like humans than robots. Sure, we prepare emails and key points about our clients but we’re able to relay that information in a human way. Leave your robot ways in the past and inject a little personality in your emails or phone calls. I promise, you’ll see it pay off.
PRactice Makes Perfect
You’re likely getting caught up in the end result of pitching more than the pitching itself. We all want to get a million hits for our client, but we have to do it thoughtfully and with the right execution. Get in the zone. The more you pitch, the better and more creative you’ll get and what was once a frightful moment may end up being your favorite part of the day.
You’ll find those pre-pitch jitters will soon melt away and you won’t even notice them by the time you’ve really figured out your pitching style.
Here a few pitch tips from Buzzstream that I often look at to remind myself that I can make magic happen with the right attitude and game plan. PRDaily also has a few tips to keep your PR creative juices flowing. Use them to come up with a great pitch no one can refuse.
Are You Anxiety Free?
Get your pitch on! Whether you pitch once a week or all day every day, the most important thing is to get yourself in the right mental space. If you end up feeling in a rut or no one is responding to your emails, look at your pitch again, try it on a friend and adjust your sails. Using some of the tips above and taking the time to prepare for pitching up front can lead you to a long and fun career in public relations. May the (PR) odds be ever in your favor.
Do you have any tips for getting over the PR jitters? Let us know in the comments below!