Keeping It Personal: How and When to Personalize Your Media Pitch

Michael Smart

Recently an earnest, hardworking PR pro asked me repeatedly during a phone consultation “what not to do.”

She already knows to avoid relying on generic pitches blasted to the same list. So I told her how personalizing pitches is about finding the sweet spot between being generic and being a stalker.

When you’re crafting your pitch for your target journalist or blogger, you know it’s a best practice to prove in the first sentence that you’ve researched her and her audience. It’s usually best to keep this focused on her work. I say that because often you might see also something in her Twitter bio or an Instagram post that you could use to make more of a personal connection.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to make a personal connection. That’s the ultimate goal of great media relations. Just not so soon—so save that thought.
Begin With a Reference
Lead off with the professional reference.

For example, “I’ve noticed your posts that get shared most frequently on social revolve around connecting millennials’ job-hunting preferences and big-company recruiting tactics…”

And then get right into your pitch that propels the connection forward.
The Evolution is Not Televised
There’s been an evolution in the last few years among the influencers I interview about their reactions to media pitches, among them a Today Show producer, a Washington Post editor and writers for USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

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