Absolutely. I bet the folks over at Bad Pitch Blog would agree with this one too. I understand it might not always realistic or feasible to send out individual pitches, but more times than not it’s worth the extra time to individualize your pitch.
In my opinion, it’s probably more necessary in BtoB PR and when conducting blogger outreach. The reason I say this is because BtoB companies tend to fit within a certain niche, so you’re working with a smaller group of media outlets (mostly trade publications—online and/or print) that are very specific about the areas of whichever industry they cover. Similarly, bloggers each have a specific focus that you should respect and take into account when pitching. If you’re targeting a blogger, you might as well treat it as if you’re communicating with the publisher, editor AND reporter/writer all at once.
In both cases, individual pitches where you researched the outlet and specific reporter/blogger will prove to be more beneficial because, by the time you send the pitch, you already know the news fit with topics they typically cover. Whether or not they choose to cover your news often has to do with timing, resources, and other aspects that are out of your control…but at least you did your homework.
So, overall, why do I think individual pitches are worth it?
Tailoring a pitch to the person you want to cover your news requires you to make sure the pitch pertains to that person (try saying those five words over and over—tongue twister): You know who you’re pitching, what they tend to cover, and what their audience is interested in hearing.
Nobody likes being treated like another number. If you took the time to find out the information I mentioned above, you’re not only relevant but you’re also putting in the effort on a personal level. It sounds like common sense, but a huge part of relationship-building is just acting like a human being. Even if the person you’re pitching doesn’t write about your news, you’ll probably stand out to them the next time around. And, they’re likely to consider you with the same respect that you showed them.
They Help You Avoid Sounding like Willy Loman.
Am I the only one that thinks pitching can seem like old school door-to-door sales from the Death of a Salesman days? Sometimes they’re a step away from cold calling or mass email blasts from a spammy email marketing campaign. But think about it: Who enjoys this? Is there anyone out there going, “Oh random telemarketer I’m SO glad you called me today because I really care about what you have to say!”?
Of course not. So why would a PR pro ever send out a pitch that remotely resembled that type of behavior?
Probably because we don’t even realize it. But that’s where an individual pitch comes in handy—it helps avoid coming across like a cheesy sales rep who goes through the checklist from “Selling for Dummies” when they pitch you.
Instead, you’re speaking to someone one-on-one like you would with a friend.
I’m not saying you should be informal and bust out the U, URs, LMAOs, etc. in your pitch, but it can just be straightforward and casual: “Hey, I saw you’ve covered this before, so I thought you might be interested in ___ news. Is this something you’d want to cover? Here are some reasons you might find it interesting.” (Or something along those lines)
That type of interaction (AKA human interaction) is more likely to be well-received. It’s also more genuine and gives you a chance to honestly explain why you think your news and/or story angle is something interesting and worthwhile for the reporter/blogger to cover.
Although some might think PR pitching is all about who you know, it’s not. Sure, relationships are great to get your foot in the door—your email is more likely to be read by someone who already knows you, and they’re more likely to hear you out—but the bottom line is that the content in your pitch.
The reporter can be your best friend, but I bet they won’t cover the story if it isn’t interesting and doesn’t relate to their audience. So take the extra time to do the legwork for that individual pitch. And then cross your fingers that the timing is right.
What do you think? Anyone had some great success from individual pitching? I’d love to hear about it because, like many others, I’m still learning about what works and what results in an epic pitch #FAIL.
(Image from ebooksx.com, thanks to Google Images)