How the Pitch Has Changed


Josh Beckett knows how to pitch.  Wonder if he blogs?

Josh Beckett knows how to pitch. Wonder if he blogs?

In the good old days – you know – way back before that newfangled Twitter thingy and that gosh-darned Facebook contraption, pitching the media used to relatively simple process.  Or at least not complicated.

That because journalists either worked for print publications, radio stations or broadcast outlets.  You pitched them stories for their medium – an article, a radio broadcast or a television news report.  You reached them by telephone or by email.

Now PR consultants no longer have the luxury of ease because the medium has been forever altered.  The Internet has changed everything.  Now look at the enormous menu of options a PR consultant has to consider as they pitch a journalist:

  • Blog post
  • Tweet
  • Facebook status update
  • Video interview
  • Comments
  • Podcasts
  • Slide shows
  • Charticles (charts with long cutlines)

Even two years ago, who thought PR consultants would be asking journalists not only to write articles about their clients – but to mention them in a LinkedIn status update?  And who would have thought that a “tweet” with a link from a journalist with thousands of followers might actually be more valuable than an actual print article?

And now journalists might not even be the best targets for news.  It might be a mommy blogger.  Or it could be a YouTube celebrity (like iJustine).  Or – and this is really when we jumped the shark – we might be pitching each other.  I can only imagine how many pitches PR bloggers Todd Defren and Steve Rubel get on any given day.  If only they would post some of their favorite gems.

When I was running my literary blog – I would get at least 5-6 publicists emailing every month asking for me to review one of the books they represented.  I never had the heart to tell them that I, too, was a PR consultant.

The good news is that the options and the audience have grown tremendously.  The bad news is that the old methods no longer work.  PR consultants should not be focused on pitching just “articles” anymore.  Long form articles are becoming fewer – and journalists are in dire need of help with shorter forms of communications – like slide shows or visually stunning charts or even a Facebook status.  These should be front and center as PR consultants consider media relations.

And sometimes the media – or at least what we used to consider the media – aren’t even necessary anymore.

Let’s not even go down the path on how to pitch these journalists and bloggers.  Email?  Or perhaps a tweet?  Or on FriendFeed?  Should I send a note to their Facebook inbox?  Or should I call them on their mobile phone?

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