A Plea to PR People: Please Pitch Like You Talk


I’m probably the wordiest person I know. As far as writing is concerned, this has easily been my biggest flaw. It’s not that I’m one of those grammarian types that likes to throw in fancy words every now and again, it’s just that—when writing, at least—I get going and can’t stop.

An All-too-Common Offense for PR People

Growing up, my dad always told me that I often spoke just to hear the sound of my own voice. From the looks of my writing sometimes, he wasn’t too far off.

Seriously, if you take a gander at some of the stuff I’ve written on this site, you’re bound to stumble upon a number of run-on sentences with words that make it seem like I’m trying to come off as smarter than I really am.

Seeing as how I’m not all that intelligent, this is a problem. However, I’m not alone in this dilemma. From what I’ve both seen and read as a PR person, many are the professionals just like me who can’t seem to communicate properly through written content. In large part, this most often rears its ugly head during an email pitch.

A Simple Solution In a Straightforward Industry

Yes, there are many responsibilities that an experienced PR person must manage, but few are as important as the email pitch. The biggest trick with this one? Well, if you read my lengthy introduction [I’m still wordy, it seems], you already know the answer to this one: humanistic brevity

Sounds intimidating, right? It’s not. Truthfully, that’s just a fancy way of saying, “Don’t act all hoity-toity with the journalists you’re pitching.” PR isn’t a difficult endeavor, so don’t try and make it one.

Here's a great example of making a pitch as basic, yet powerful as possible:

 * Source: Hubspot

* Source: Hubspot

Get to know the journalist you’re pitching, consider his or her audience, provide only the most important of piece tidbits and move onto the next pitch. Oh, and before I forget—make certain to do all this while writing as if you were speaking to a close friend. Once again, I repeat: don’t make this harder than it has to be.

Journalists—composing, without a doubt, the most overworked and underpaid slice of the money-making world—don’t need any more BS than they already get. The more you sound like a robot, the more likely it is that one of two things will happen: A) a journalist will assume he or she has been sent a mass pitch. B) your inquiry will simply be ignored.

Don’t Overthink It

Either way, you lose in the end. Keep it simple. Keep it short. See success. Heck, who knows? Before long, you could very well have journalists publicly praising your writing instead of the other way round.

 * Source: @mims

* Source: @mims

So what do you think? Obviously, there are many strategies for crafting the perfect PR pitch. This post primarily focuses on two of them. What are some others? In the comments section below, share what’s worked nicely for you in the past and why you feel things turned out so positive.

Lucas Miller is the Founder of Echelon Copy. When not writing, editing or running, he's working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the "World's Greatest Pompadour." Additionally, for what it's worth, his editorial works have been featured on Social Media Today, Business2Community, Ragan's PR Daily, Spin Sucks and many other top-tier PR publications.