A Really Bad Pitch!

24 03 2009

While catching up on my Google Reader I came across a post on the Bad Pitch Blog. The blog post described the worst pitch I have ever read in my life. I couldn’t believe this really happened. Basically the NY Post newspaper received an email promoting a particular dermatologist and their news peg was the death of a real estate reporter at the NY Post. The email even stated that the reporter ignored signs of melanoma and could have prevented his death if he would have seen a dermatologist! I couldn’t believe that this particular PR person used DEATH AS A NEWS PEG! As if this wasn’t bad enough, the pitch email was sent only a few hours after the news paper staff returned from their colleague’s funeral. This was a huge PR mistake and the pitch obviously failed miserably. Note to PR practitioners: Death is too risky of a subject to use as a news peg. I encourage you all to read the post and the pitch letter.

Pitch Letters

1 03 2009

In our PR class we discussed pitch letters and how to pitch to journalists and bloggers. I came across a post on the Bad Pitch Blog called Five Crucial Tips for the Perfect Pitch Letter. This blog post refers to pitch letters as the holy grail. They are the one of the best tools that PR practitioners have in their tool box, but most often, they are used ineffectively. The following 5 tips were given:

  1. Hit it with your best shot: have a very good angle for your story and say something to get the reader’s interest.
  2. Make it personal: make sure it relates to the journalist’s beat.
  3. It’s all about the method: email pitch letters and snail mail pitch letters are very different. Email pitch letters have less space; make it quick and to the point. Snail mail pitches give you a whole page if you can keep the journalist interested enough to make it to the end of your letter.
  4. Don’t rush the letter: make all your points clearly and keep it interesting.
  5. Proofread! This is the most important tip. Don’t make yourself look like an idiot. Get someone to edit your letter critically.

I really encourage my classmates and other PR professionals to read this post. It is very helpful!

PR is Negotiation

15 01 2009

This semester I am enrolled in a negotion class at Clemson University with Dr. Wiesman.  The first day in class we were making a list of characteristics of negotiation.  This is what we came up with:

  • It involves at least two parties.
  • Negotiation is a give and take.
  • It is a win-win situation, in which both parties find a mutually acceptable solution to a complex situation.
  • We have a high concern for ourselves as well as a high concern for others.
  • It is a transformational process.
  • We create value and at the end of the negotiation, we claim that value.
  • We negotiate by choice.
  • It involves interdependence: both parties need each other; a relationship between the parties is necessary.
  • It involves mutual adjustment: both parties have to change their initial wants.

If you read this list of characteristics and did not know I was talking about negotiation, you may think that I am talking about public relations.  When writing down all these characteristics negotiation and PR seemed to mesh together more and more.  After all isn’t PR a mutually beneficial relationship in which both parties need each other.  PR is a give and take process.  Good PR involves two-way communication.  The organization and its publics need to be open to give something as well as take.  Also, good PR is transformational and involves mutual adjustment.  Sometimes the organization or the public or sometimes both need to give up their initial wants and listen to each other.  Only then can they come up with that 3rd alternative that is beneficial to both parties. 

From now on I am going to think of PR and a PR effort like a negotiation.  Both the organization and the publics need to gain something.