Public Relations Tips

Tips for pitching me.

 

First and foremost, I’m a PR person by trade. I’ve worked at agencies, in-house and as a consultant, so I feel your pain. Furthermore, I hope not to add to it. That said, I am often pressed for time so I can’t be as responsive as I’d and you’d like. If you’re hoping to get a response and/or improve your chances of having me write about your client, please read the below. These are tips to help you succeed in pitching to me, and most likely, pitching to others. They are not in order of importance, and some will sound familiar because they’re rules that most writers have.

 

  1. Know what I usually cover. See katietalkstravel.com/media for a list of my recently published stories.
  2. Be concise in your pitching and pitch me how you envision the final product. I.e. Don’t send me eight paragraphs about how amazing the hotel you represent is. Send me what you see as being the headline for the story you want me to write and include a lead. If you simply send me a pitch with a press release or paragraphs about your client’s falconry program, I’m left having to read the information, digest it and determine if a story is in there. If it is, I have to then come up with the headline and lead that will hook my editor. All of that takes time so if you can remove the me having to digest, determine and come up with a headline and lead part, your chances of me pitching it to my editor increase, tenfold. The format I prefer is like this:
  3. America’s All-Inclusive – 6 Reasons to Take a Ranch Vacation– Europeans travel across the Atlantic to saddle up and experience ranch life (plus they love to shoot guns at the firing range since they can’t really do it at home), so why aren’t Americans doing the same? This piece will compare and contrast this classic all-inclusive with the bigger and better known all-inclusive resorts. The goal is to make readers think of dude/guest ranch vacations in addition to beach resorts when they think of all-inclusive getaways.
  4. America’s Gypsies –Meet the Stars of Rodeo Season– feature on the individuals and families who travel the country in their trailers to compete and show at the summer’s hottest rodeos. It’s an interesting culture (some say, cult), and the images for this piece will be incredible. Bull riding, barrel racing, tailgating parties post-rodeo, big belt buckles, bigger cowboy hats and my personal favorite, rodeo clowns!
  5. 8 Drive-In Theaters Surviving the Digital Age– roundup of America’s remaining drive-in theaters where readers can catch this summer’s blockbusters in a nostalgic setting that is getting more endangered every year. I’ll try to find statistics on drive-ins shutting down (like my hometown drive-in in Montana, RIP) vs. opening up.
  6. 10 Good Things to Come from Reality TV– America is known for giving the world reality TV, but its reputation isn’t too great. I’ll dig up things that we’re grateful for where reality TV deserves the credit. I.e. a Shark Tank invention, Miranda Lambert (entertainer of the year), a family who has a new handicap accessible home thanks to Extreme Home Makeover, maybe awareness for transgenders (Caitlyn Jenner), survival skills from Man vs. Wild, etc.
  7. National Park Two-Fer; How to Do Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks on One Trip— Tips for experiencing the best of these two parks that share a border but offer different attractions and amenities.
  8. 10 Bars Honoring the Stars and Strips with Libation-Fueled Celebrations– roundup of bars and breweries hosting over-the-top 4th of July parties.

 

 

  1. HARO
    1. Respond as soon as you can. Even if my deadline is a Thursday, if my query comes out on a Monday try to submit your content then. I try to file my stories before my deadlines so I feature clients/brands on a first-come first-covered basis. Of course, I only feature clients/brands that are a good fit for the piece, but still, I never wait until my deadline unless I’m desparate. For the sake of time, I won’t wait until Thursday when I have to go through 100 submissions. I’ll see the first 10 that come in on Monday and think, “Wow, six of these are worth featuring, so I already have six.”
    2. Respond in the format I request. Take my instructions literally.
    3. Do not offer interviews, send tips. For most pieces, I need to quote experts but that doesn’t mean I have the luxury of having the time to speak with them on the phone. If I’m asking for 10 Tips for Saving on Gas this Holiday Season, send me your expert’s tip along with his/her name and title. If you send me an email asking if I want to speak with your expert and your email does not include the tip, I probably won’t respond. Why? Well, because that’s an extra step and again, it’s all about saving time. Provide what I’m asking for, not an offer to provide what I’m asking for.
  2. Images
    1. Include the credit info!!! Probably 70 percent of the emails I have to send PR people have to do with getting the photo credit for the images they send me. My editors require me to include a photo credit for each image so please don’t forget. Basically, an image without a photo credit is useless. You wouldn’t pass the olive oil or the vinegar. You pass both of them.
    2. Horizontal/Landscape is best. Most of the slideshows and stories I write require horizontal or landscape orientation images. Please don’t send vertical images unless that’s all you have.

 

  1. NEVER ASK WHEN A PIECE WILL RUN
    1. I’m sorry, but 90 percent of the time my editors do not tell me when my stories will publish. I find out the same way you do: Google alerts or simply checking every once in a while. I get really annoyed when people ask me this question because I get asked it so often and I never have an answer. Trust me, I don’t mind getting asked questions I have the answer to. But if I’m working on three roundups at a time, each featuring 10 different brands/PR people, that’s 20-30 people pinging me to ask when a piece will run. That’s 30 “I don’t know’s” I have to send out.
  2. Please be patient
    1. I do not have control over the editorial calendars at the outlets I write for. Sometimes I have to wait more than a year from the time I hand in a piece until the time it runs online.