Friday, November 21, 2014

Who to mention and when in your media pitch

How quickly should you mention your client's name in a media pitch? And should you mention competitors, too?

It depends, of course. But in tech startup PR, more often than not the answers are:

(1) Don't mention your client's name until the end of your one-screen pitch.

First, say something of relevance to the reporter's audience (hook). Then say why this information matters at this particular point in time (why, why now). Then offer your client as a resource that lets the reporter further explore the topic.

The delay isn't meant to be a trick. Tricks are bad because they don't help you build a long-term trust relationship. The delay is about relevance. If your client is unknown, it's irrelevant. Start with what matters, and then introduce your client as a topic expert.

There are other approaches and other answers to this question, and I've got more to say on this one particular approach, but we can save those for another time.

(2) Do mention competitors, and do mention anything that's an alternative to your client's offering, even if that alternative is "do nothing and just suffer."

In fact, articulating the "do nothing and suffer" part in depth is a good idea, especially if your startup client is extremely innovative and ahead of the curve.

To sell aspirin, you must first remind people that there's this thing called a headache, and it isn't something they absolutely must keep suffering. Rather, there's something they can do about it.

Why competitors? One company does not a market make. Being the only company in the world that does a particular thing is cool, but it makes your client less of a news story.

I've got more on that one, too. But I'll save it for later.

For "before/after" samples of pitches, click here.