WORDS: ODETTE BARRY
As someone who has worked on several sides of the media, I have learned a thing or two about pitching. There are a million ways to get it wrong and a few simple ways to get it right. It’s not hard, it’s not rocket science, and it should feel good.
PR is very misunderstood. For most people it feels a little gross because you have to step into that space of actually believing in yourself, god forbid. Us women kinda suck at the whole stepping into our light thing. But when you do, the results are incredible. The stats say over 60 per cent of Australians trust what they consume in the media. When it comes to building your brand and converting interested peeps into enthusiastic customers who are keen to throw money at you, trust is an essential ingredient.
START WITH ROMANCE
Pitching your business to the media should look, feel and smell like romance. Like I said, it should feel good. I’m talking perfume behind the ear and sweet surprises. It should be centred on relationship building, sending flowers, choccies or even a cheeky love note.
I often advise clients to write a handwritten card and tell their chosen journalist, editor, producer, or podcast host how they adore them and why. ‘Why’ is the key to success when it comes to pitching your story.
WHY THE WHY?
Know thy why. Your story is what will sell magazines. Us humans are curious. The unique thing about you is often the soft story that you can tell around your hard sell (Note: PR is naht about the sell – it’s about the story).
Secondly, you need to know your audience’s why – meaning you need to know what the outlet typically covers and what motivates their readers. You will slot right in with ease once you know their agenda and you’ve shaped your accordingly.
Now, don’t ask for marriage on the first date – you want to spend time getting to know the outlet and the specific journalist before you jump into the ask.
Choose five outlets that completely align with your story or your business objective.
Absolutely do not send your media release out to every email you can get your hands on. It’s yuck PR, cut it out. Within your five outlets, find the specific journalists that are telling the stories that make sense to you. Then, stalk them. Sorry, I mean build a beautiful, meaningful connection with them. Research what they love, their interests, and the recent articles they’ve written. Understand what they write about so you can ensure your pitch is met with a ‘hells yeah!’.
FINDING YOUR ANGLES
An angle is the hook that captures the audience’s attention. It’s media lingo for the headline that makes your story interesting and ‘newsworthy’. Find some juicy angles that are going to reel in the fishies. Unless you’re a celebrity, a felon, or a superhero, you’re going to need to think of an angle to grab the journalist’s attention.
The media don’t love plugging products or services – while they often do, it’s not normally the way to a journalist’s heart. The sooner you get your head around the delineation between ads and earned media the quicker you will get ‘Yes! We would love to run your story.’.
Things to consider as you’re teasing out potential angles: Will the readers or listeners find this interesting, entertaining, informative, or useful? How would your story make sense in their framing? Think about detailing emotional journeys, or tales of accomplishment.
HINT: OAK Magazine is typically read by women in the 30-50 age bracket. They are self-sufficient small business owners living outside our capital cities. What story could you tell that would connect with them? What are their interests, or their pain points? What broader trends could you leverage?
PR 101 IN ONE PARAGRAPH?
Be the bluddy good human that you are and get super clear on your why. Invest time getting to know the people – not just the magazine brand – that you want to connect with. Create five plus angles per outlet so that you can pivot if the first (or second) angle doesn’t land. Be patient, resilient and thoughtful and persistent and I’d say nine times out of 10 you’ll land a flippin’ fabulous story.
There are so many more layers to PR, but these steps will totally level up your pitching game. Keep me posted about your outreach over at @odetteandco on Insta or get in touch about my free PR Challenge. Or book in for a 90 minute power session to uncover the optimum way to pitch your business.
Odette Barry is the founder of Odette & Co, a PR agency in Byron Bay. She mentors business owners across Australia, teaching the strategies she uses everyday to score hundreds of headline stories.
How to pitch your story to OAK Magazine (and every other media outlet) was first published in Issue 7 – OAK Magazine