Pretty much anyone can do PR for their business – but one thing that is important to keep in mind is that not everything is applicable for an individual pitch. While anyone can pitch something and has something in their business that can lead to great media coverage, it is always important to be clear on what these things are, and differentiate between which things may not be worth pitching.
Usually the question is not a matter of can you do PR or not, but a matter of figuring out which things are worth pitching and worth making part of your PR strategy. Because not everything is.
Often people say they want to pitch media for a story, but in all honesty they haven’t identified a pitchable angle and just plan to email a writer about how great their business is, or about an upcoming event. That’s really not going to get you any play. So what actually is a pitchable angle? Here’s what to consider:
Set yourself apart
What are you/your company doing that’s different from the rest? What sets you apart from other companies or products in your industry, and how can you lead with that in your pitches? In other words, figure out what about you/your company deserves peoples’ attention. You may be doing something similar to what other companies are doing, but what makes you unique? That’s what you need to find. Why should someone care about what you’re doing over what someone else in a similar industry is doing? Why should a journalist write about you over someone else, offering the same product or service? Think about why they should spotlight you over someone else, and make sure they know what this reason is.
Another way to create a pitchable angle is to use your own expertise. If you are a thought leader in your industry, leverage your knowledge and offer expert advice to publications. And to be an expert doesn’t mean you have to have some kind of fancy expert title or anything like that – it just means you’re experienced and can offer advice in your field! You’ve been doing this a while, you know what you’re doing, and you can teach others. You have enough experience to speak from, and you know best practices and can explain things in your own way. This can often be a great way to pitch yourself for industry-specific or business specific pieces.
Keeping a pulse on culture and current events or trends
How can you tap into current culture? What’s happening in the news on a local and national level that may tie into what you do or offer? This can be one of the best ways to get real-time coverage in a more “newsy” publication or a really timely piece. A pitchable angle would be one that has to do with things currently going on in your area or the world, that you have a unique take on or something to add to the conversation (A great way to keep a pulse on culture: keeping up with real-time Twitter trends, and subscribing to daily briefing newsletters).
A big launch or really newsy thing
If you are launching a product, that alone may be worth pitching to media in your industry, or potentially to local publications that may be interested in the fact that a local is launching a cool new business. But be careful, because this method won’t work for everything. For example, what would not be pitchable for most publications would be the launch of a service-based entrepreneur’s online course or new group program. More than likely, nobody is going to write a story about that, because there’s hundreds of similar services and the audience is too niche. A physical product or launch of a non-profit organization that will help the community would be worth pitching though.
For a product launch to be pitchable, it really has to have a wider appeal and be something that isn’t happening all the time by different people. So consider this: does your product help the community at large? Is it considered groundbreaking for your industry? Does it solve a problem, or make peoples’ lives easier?
It’s pretty simple: if everyone else is doing it, it’s probably not pitchable. You need to have a reason why people should listen to your story – and everyone has that reason why! Go back to the origins of your business and think about why you started. Were you responding to a need in your community or industry? How have you helped fulfill that need? Why should people pay attention to your upcoming event or product launch?
Most importantly, when it comes to pitching, it’s not about you. It’s about the people who are receiving your message. So what’s in it for them? Your pitch needs to speak to the person you’re pitching to, and what their audience will get out of it, because that’s what they really care about.
Take some time to think about it today if you haven’t been sure how to pitch yourself before, and come up with some of your best angles. Good luck pitching!