Archive for the ‘Pitches’ Category
This is not a joke so there’s no punchline although Pitch Letter and Golf Swing did go to a bar and made fun of tyrannical bosses, demanding clients, snotty reporters and Charles Barkley’s golf swing.
No one else in the world would take on the task of comparing pitch letter writing with the golf swing except your friendly neighborhood, prdude. It may appear as though I’ve been on the green smoking the grass around me, but you’ll see there are similarities to writing a solid pitch letter and developing a sound golf swing (once you inhale all that smoke). So here’s my attempt at breaking them down as simply as possible (keeping posts to under 655 words since many of you suffer from undiagnosed ADD):
The Address — In golf, that would be how a golfer sets up as he prepares to hit the golf ball. A solid foundation is needed to get the most of out of the swing. The set-up dictates the rest of the golf swing. In writing a pitch letter, a solid set-up is also critical as this will dictate the flow of the entire pitch. We all know that addressing the pitch letter to the correct reporter is practically half the battle.
The Backswing — In golf, you better make sure you take the club back smoothly and in a consistent line. This helps eliminate mis-hits (hyphen added to avoid any mispronunciations by non-golfers) when striking the ball on the downswing. Hitting your target will be dependent on it. In a pitch letter, this would be the lead/opening paragraph, which better be smooth and consistent, to ensure no misperceptions is derived by the reporter.
The Downswing — In golf, this is the part where experience takes over since the downswing action almost becomes second-nature to the skilled golfer. Once you reach the top of your backswing, gravity pretty much takes care of the downswing, so controlling it to ensure consistency takes a lot of practice. In a pitch letter, this would be the essence of your pitch. Experienced PR pros have an easier time spotting the newsworthy nuggets they want to convey on their pitch. It’s a skill that is developed through practice although, just like in golf, there are some inexperienced individuals who seem to have been born with this ability.
The Follow-Through — Once the golf club strikes the ball, you might think it’s pretty much over, but that’s not the case. The sequence of events immediately after contact is extremely important. The better players will keep the same line after hitting the ball and maintain their follow-through eyeing their golf ball as it flies toward its intended target. In a pitch letter, this would be maintaining contact with your target even after you hit that “Send” button. If you maintain your follow-through with a well-crafted pitch, you have a higher percentage of making a solid impact with your intended media target.
The Punchline — So I lied. Here’s the punchline: there is no perfect swing and there is no perfect pitch letter. Even Tiger Woods, whose golf swing is near flawless, has ended up out of bounds, in the rough, even beaned a lucky spectator on the head. As with the so-called perfect pitch letter, it may seem flawless, but it could still end up in the trash. One thing to remember is to keep the pitch letter and the golf swing as simple and consistent as possible.
And all we can do, as PR pros (and golfers), is to keep on practicing to lessen the stray shots. The only thing I guarantee is if this post doesn’t help your pitching skills, it will surely help your golf swing. Golf and PR may be frustrating, but when you hit that perfect shot, and it does happen folks, it makes everything worthwhile.
A discussion about the pitch letter, golf swing, or whether you think I’ve smoked too much golf course weed, is encouraged.
So the PRWeek/PR Newswire Media survey came out yesterday to practically no fanfare. Maybe I was blind or plain crazed yesterday that I didn’t see any PR pro tweet about the findings save for Shel Holtz who challenged technology blogger/editor Robert Scoble to respond to his open query. Apparently, Shel takes issue with some of Scoble’s attitude towards PR pitches and PR people in general.
Shel got his answer. Scoble ain’t backing down and posted this in response.
My take. Both have valid points, but as a PR pro, I’ll have to side with Holtz on this one. Yes, there are crappy pitches out there, and it’s in your inbox, so simply click delete. It’s nothing personal. If reporters only knew the kind of pressure PR people are under and the amount of time we have in a day to service clients. We try to be as smart and strategic as possible, I hope, but do we really have the time to research every reporter’s and/or blogger’s past articles to ensure pitches are targeted? In front of clients, we say YES, but in reality, who’s got the time?
If I had to research every reporter/blogger and figure out whether they’re an appropriate target, I’d be 7/11, that means working 24/7. No one wants that even in this sad economy. To put it mildly, be happy we’re pitching you, and the fact that you work in the media means you’re a target. Just think of yourselves as celebrities, but not as pretty, and PR pros as the paparazzi, but not as sleazy.
As it turns out, her boss was to blame for the tasteless pitch. Unfortunately, I can honestly say that I was not surprised that this was the case.