Event: Perfecting the Pitch
Presenter: Dr. Joseph V. Trahan III, APR, Fellow PRSA, President and CEO, Trahan & Associates
Recap: What is the recipe for a perfect pitch? Like baseball, pitching a story has a certain art and science to it. Public relations demands practitioners who are capable of pitching a great story. For the best pitching strategy, identify the audience first. Try imagining what they look like, what they want and their preferred medium. In other words, choose the medium that will cast the largest net over each target audience. The channel must have meaning to the receiver. Look for the uniqueness in each pitch and try to identify why the audience would want to hear the story.
Credibility, according to Trahan, is “your ethics, your ethos, your word. If you don’t have that, you will fail.” Credibility is determined by the receiver. Clearly define the purpose of the pitch so the audience can understand the goal, and then follow through to meet that goal to remain credible. Develop a strategic plan with directions to follow and clearly measurable objectives. Then, choose a unique story angle and determine what communication channel is most appropriate. Trahan said, “be prepared to use all of your fastballs, curves and changeups.” Uniqueness can be found in any story, but be sure to pitch it to the right channel.
What is the “curve ball” that is going to catch the attention of a reporter? People have a short attention span, so tell them right away why they should listen. Use every resource to capture the reporter’s attention and show him or her why a story will matter to the public. At the same time, keep each pitch to the size of a screenshot, which is equivalent to about four paragraphs. Take advantage of the digital age today and visually describe to reporters what the outcome of each story will be using visuals and hyperlinks. These resources are a great way to say more using less space. Clearly communicate a call for action that explains who, what, when and why a story matters. Pitch with a passion, and believe in it. This is the most important part of a pitch. Credibility and authenticity are founded on personal belief aligning with action. This is what sets apart a pitch from the rest.
- P = People, who is the public?
- I = Ideas, what makes the story unique and different?
- T = Techniques, what communication channels are most meaningful to each demographic?
- C = Credibility, what makes the pitch credible?
- H = Heights to excellence, each pitch must be simple, free of any spelling and grammar errors and a have a clearly defined purpose.
Aubrey Martin is a junior public relations major at Biola University. She is passionate about fitness, fashion and hot yoga. Connect with her on LinkedIn.