As a current PR student, the growing debate of whether or not pitching is still relevant in the industry is quite interesting to me. In the age of social media, blogging and two-way communication with consumers, younger professionals argue that pitching is a dying skill while seasoned veterans argue that pitching is still vital to a PR campaign. So who is right?
In an article published on Ragan.com titled “7 Reasons Why It’s Time to Retire ‘Pitch’ and ‘Pitching’,” it is argued that the element of pitching harms the PR industry because it is a dated form of communication with the mainstream media. But if it time to retire the ole’ PR pitcher, then how can PR professionals effectively get news coverage for a deserving client, story or event? To me, the solution is not to simply cut pitching out of a PR campaign all together, but rather update the ideal pitch to appeal to the current industry. It’s not a secret that times are changing in terms of how you can craft a message so that it stands out among competing stories. It’s imperative that a message still contains the meat of the story if you will, but also the means to act on the message if a reporter or consumers choose to do so.
I’ve never had any personal experience with pitching other than watching my colleagues at my past internship fear the ever-dreaded pitching phone call, so I thought it’d be wise to do some research on the subject. In a great blog titled “Updating PR Pitching: Evolving Outcomes,” four aspects of a pitch are defined for its success in this day in age: redefining goals, digital, social and measurement. While these tips are pretty self-explanatory for the most part, the key take-away from the blog is this: the digital revolution is of great benefit to PR pitching because online coverage of a story is just as beneficial and effective as print coverage.
So the next time you’re given the daunting task of making a PR pitch, first determine your hopeful outcomes of the pitch and then decide which way to pitch will be the most effective. Creativity is a preferred skill in the PR industry, so put yours to good use and don’t ever let the PR pitch strike you out.