If at First You Don’t Succeed …
Have you ever had a surefire winning pitch that you just knew was going to land plenty of publicity for your utility end up being a complete disappointment?
If you’ve been working in public relations for any period of time, the answer undoubtedly is “yes.”
But it doesn’t mean you can’t recycle the pitch at some point in the future.
Pitches fail for a variety of reasons. Assuming your pitch is newsworthy (that’s a big assumption because PR professionals of all stripes pitch a variety of bad ideas), there are numerous reasons why your pitch may have bombed.
For one thing, there may have been major breaking news at the same time you made your pitch, and it got lost in the shuffle. Or it’s possible a reporter simply wasn’t available.
Maybe you pitched it to the wrong people and/or outlets.
Perhaps the idea is of interest, but ties in better at a different time.
And it might be your fault in that you didn’t properly explain why the would-be news is important, you were too long-winded or your pitch contained typos or grammatical errors (many journalists automatically dismiss poorly written communications).
No matter what the reason, it doesn’t mean your idea is necessarily dead unless, of course, it involved an event that’s already happened.
Trying your pitch again several months later may still bear fruit.
Editors, reporters and other journalists probably won’t remember your initial pitch – and you may well be pitching different people. The news flow at the moment won’t be the same.
Sometimes, you just get lucky. News judgment is a subjective thing, so barring obvious things that must be covered (multiple homicides, natural disasters, political shenanigans, to name a few) what does and doesn’t get covered sometimes comes down to an internal mental coin flip.
Before you try your pitch again, read over your “script,” email or however else you plan to communicate. Update it as need be and rewrite it so it isn’t a carbon copy of the past pitch.
Correct any typos or grammatical errors. Make sure you get to the point early. And be sure to thoroughly explain why the news you’re pitching is important.
Anticipate any questions in advance and have answers for them prepared. Be sure to pitch your idea at a good time – no 4:30 p.m. pitches on a Friday – and check to see that you’re pitching the appropriate person at the news organization.
Good luck! You may well bomb out again (at that point, retire the idea), but you might also be pleasantly surprised at how much interest you generate.