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Before You Pitch: Do Your Homework

TODAY’S BUZZ TIP | May 11, 2009

Since posting the O List Query last week I’ve been getting quite a few emails asking for advice on what types of products to send, what kind of information, etc.  So I thought a refresher on pitching and following up is necessary.  Here are some basics:

Know Your Publication: You will get the best idea of what kinds of products to send by actually reading the magazine and looking at the article you are pitching to.  Check out several issues of the publication and see what the general trend is.  If they haven’t featured any children’s products for example, then they are not interested in them; unless, you can show how that product can be useful beyond its initial intended use.  Also, you must read articles written by the specific editor you are pitching to.  And if your product really doesn’t fit the criteria, then don’t send.  Success in PR is knowing your product and what media targets are best suited to it.  Otherwise you are just spinning your wheels.

Press Kit: Introduce your product to the press via a strong press kit.  Don’t just send your product without information on the company as well.  Your press kit should include a bio on the founder(s), a fact sheet on the company (how many years in operation, review of products, where based, etc.) and press releases on recent product launches and other corporate news.  You should also include a CD with images of the products in both hi and lo res.

Followup: After sending your pitch and kit the next step would be to follow up via email, not phone.  Editors are too busy and normally will not even take a pitch over the phone, or a follow up call.  Just email a note repeating some of the messages in your initial pitch and inquire on their potential interest.  In the email, be sure to include a link to your website.  Do not send any attachments unless they request them.

Buzz Alert: Last week a Buzz member, who will remain anonymous for now (another offense and they will be outed), passed off one of my Buzzes, the O List Query, as their own.  This caused a major problem with my valuable contact.  If members abuse the privilege of being a member of the Buzz and receiving free information, then I will no longer be able to provide it.  So please, keep this in mind and use the Buzz tips conscientiously.

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