ABC Good Morning America, The Huffington Post, People and Essence Magazine staff were all part of the panel. American Idol style, they critiqued those who seized the opportunity to stand in-front of more than 75 workshop attendees which included PR pros and journalists and deliver their impromptu 45-second pitch.
Here are a few practical tips you can use to cut out the fluff when you craft your next pitch.
Have a tie-in and know your media – 45 seconds is fast. Lead with the specific area related to your pitch: What segment would it fall under, what monthly column focuses on your topic or what time of the year is best for your story (ex. Black History Month)? Show those you’re pitching you follow their media outlet and understand their audience and what they are seeking. Don’t pitch the producers of The Wendy Williams Show your awesome chef and cookbook. They don’t do cooking segments.
Embrace the nerd in us and give statistics. Everyone’s got a little nerd in them. Statistics can help sell a story. Journalists want to feel like they’ve taught the audience something new.
Numbers are great but people are better. Can you provide the reporter or producer access to someone impacted by your organization, get them an interview with the founder of the non-profit or offer a celebrity who has close ties to your issue? Be sure to let them know if they can be available immediately.
Show a little passion. Enthusiasm can be faked but it’s no substitute for passion. Passion infects and when combined with authenticity, it shows. One of the publicists in attendance pitched a story on the number of missing and abused African-American women and children who get only minimal news coverage everyday. Her pitch evoked a standing ovation from the crowd and nearly brought members of the panel to tears–probably not her goal, but impressive nonetheless. Passion moves people to take action. When you’re crafting your pitch don’t cut out the passion.