How to Keep Your Confidence Level High When Making a Pitch

Michael Smart, Principal, Michael Smart PR

“It’s reassuring to see that this stuff really works.”

That’s how one of my friends summarized a dinner conversation we’d had with other media pitching pros. Those in our group shared recent pitching successes with the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and an Associated Press national writer, among others.

I arrange these kinds of meetings when I travel, so I can keep my finger on the pulse of what it feels like to be a media-pitching pro these days.

My intent in this case was to listen—really listen—to the challenges and frustrations they were experiencing with media relations outreach. But as the night wore on and they grew more comfortable with each other, they shared more and more success stories.

They contrasted the methods they were using to get results with some of the recent anti-PR screeds journalists have been posting online. You know, the ones where the reporter says to never call or follow up if you’ve already contacted him or her and only to pitch exclusives or whatever other personal preferences exist.

And then, time after time, my new friends listed instances in the past few months where they’ve been successful pitching by phone, following up multiple times and placing the same story in several competing outlets.

It was invigorating for them to hear that these weren’t flukes, that they weren’t getting lucky. We concluded that even in today’s fragmented media environment, well-targeted outreach that’s ultra-sensitive to the oppressive demands on journalists’ time is an asset to reporters, not an annoyance.

I totally get why journalists and bloggers vent their frustrations about PR pros online and why people would think that could be a valuable source of intelligence about how to better connect with media.


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