Media pitch notes are one of the most underrated pieces of content in PR.
Not many think so, and I understand why.
People focus more on tools than the process to utilise those tools.
That’s why the moment a prospective client asks for PR services, PR professionals start talking about press releases, articles, interviews and events.
They promise a number of impressions/activities in a specific period to differentiate themselves from competitors. (Yes, the fee is also a differentiating factor but we will talk about that some other time.)
In promising a number, little do they realise that the number will remain a promise in the absence of a value-driven process to get those stories out in the media.
One of the processes that help in getting the stories published is developing a strong media pitch note.
A pitch note that makes journalists curious to know more.
What a pitch note shouldn’t be
In my 7-year journalism career followed by 10 years in public relations, I have come across innumerable pitch notes and not more than 2% meet their objective.
Most are either the following or a different version of it.
I am writing on behalf of XYZ (the client), India’s leading player in ABC industry.
I am attaching the profiles of the company and the spokesperson for your reference.
Please let me know if you are doing any story where my client can participate.”
Technically, it is not even a pitch note.
It is someone saying he/she doesn’t know anything about the client or the media.
‘This is how it happens in PR’
The dismaying thing is that most PR professionals know about the poor success rate of such notes.
However, only a few put in the efforts to arm themselves with enough information to prepare a good pitch note.
Others try to hide their inefficiency.
A corporate communications manager reached out to me for assistance a few days ago.
Her PR agency had refused to share the media pitch notes with her.
She is new to handling a PR agency and did not know how to address the problem.
Whenever she asked for it, she was pushed back by saying, “This is how it happens in PR”.
“THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENS IN PR.”
An agency that believes in the above statement is living in the early 2000s.
Today’s agencies are going all out to create value for clients.
They are experimenting with new ideas, new tools, and new formats.
They are investing time in understanding their client’s business.
They don’t hide anything from their clients.
Because they are confident in what they are doing.
They don’t take clients for a ride.
Because they know they are replaceable.
Taking prior approval from clients is the least a modern PR agency is doing.
Media Pitch notes as a measurement of PR success
If you are a client and reading this article, you should use media pitch notes to measure the success of your PR agency.
Pitch notes are a great indicator of the value your PR agency is creating.
But don’t make the mistake of counting the number of pitch notes going out to the media. Instead, look at the success rate.
Compare this rate with an earlier period to ascertain whether the graph is going up or down.
An upward movement is good news. A downward movement is an indication that you need to identify and address the main cause.
Tips on writing successful Media pitch notes
If you are an agency, you will do yourself a favour by investing time in creating good pitch notes.
Creating a pitch note is not rocket science but requires a lot of backend work.
You need to understand the client’s business.
You need to understand the publication you are pitching to.
You need to understand the journalist you are approaching.
You need to present a great story idea.
All four boxes should be ticked for it to have a chance at success.
The aforesaid is certainly not everything about pitch notes.
But it is an indicator of how one can start the work on writing a great pitch note.
Media visibility is a crucial component of every company’s PR game plan and media pitch notes are a medium to tell journalists what your brand story is.
In the absence of a good pitch note, all efforts will have sub-optimal results.
Therefore, it is important to invest time and energy in preparing great pitch notes to take the PR efforts to their logical conclusion.