by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago
Opening day is nearly here, and for me that means more press releases, PR strategies and finding a way to get excited about baseball season, at least until the Rose of basketball season starts to bloom this spring.
I started thinking about press release pitching strategies that connect lovers of one of America’s favorite pastimes and today’s PR practitioners.
Just as in baseball, what many of us could use is a pitching coach. The goal of any pitching coach is to help the pitcher understand the process, improve mechanics, and provide the tools needed to compete.
If you replace the word “ball” with “pitch,” you’ll see how to improve your PR (and even baseball) game. Just remember that in the PR game, pitching a no-hitter is no good. Instead, as a pitcher, you want to give batting bloggers and reporters something they can send soaring.
Fastball – Get to the point. Share your pitch in 30-45 seconds. Want them to really knock it out the park? Make that pitch high and inside, just like I like ‘em. Meaning, give the reporter a well put together pitch that speaks directly to their specific audience and has potential to go far, drawing clicks and re-shares online.
Curveball – Most often a strikeout pitch, this is much slower than the fastball. It takes a long time to get to home plate (the point). Reporters aren’t hitting this and in PR baseball that’s no good. This is like trying to pitch a story where maybe there is some connection to the publication or readers but it’s not strong. Many players are taught not to swing at a curveball until they’ve got two strikes – a slow news day and a pressing producer. That said, curveball pitches are great for slow news days .
Knuckleball – Very little or no spin. The story is what it is. These are often the stories that surprise editors when they go viral. The reporter has little expectation for it because they just don’t know where the story is going to take them but they know they have to swing anyway. Think Octomom, or Reuters’s Oddly Enough.
Change up – This one looks like a fastball and a homer to the reporter and then quickly the pitch breaks. You get the reporter or blogger’s name right. You even show you’re familiar with their work. Then you pitch: “Hi Ms. Blogger, I really enjoyed your recent piece on the increasing age of automobiles on the road and how consumers can save money on auto repairs. Since you cover these consumer issues I thought you might like to hear about our family vacation destination ideas this summer. Our resorts provide the cheapest option for a family of four.” In your mind that sounded like a logical pitch, but to this automotive blogger, your change up looks like an ad and doesn’t even deserve a swing or a referral to the right section.
Slider – Think of the slider pitch as a great sidebar story. The pitch must be very closely related to a trending story but breaks enough from the original story that it is viewed as supportive and not repetitive. Think about the sequester:
- The fastball pitches are direct cuts your city will experience.
- Slider pitches are support services, suppliers and people impacted by the direct sequester cuts.
- Alternatively a curveball pitch might be a new trend emerging as a result in changes from the supply services impacted by the sequester cuts. Still a story but it takes a long time to get back to home plate, in this case, the sequester cut’s impact on the community.
Go ahead, assume the mound and get to pitching.