Public relations professionals spend a large amount of time engaging in media relations—writing pitches, contacting reporters and hoping to land a top tier placement for clients. Developing pitches that perfectly fit into a client’s niche can be difficult and even the best of us run out of ideas from time to time. If you ever find yourself stuck in a pitching rut, here are five ways to restart the engine and replenish your creative juices.
Develop a Thematic Calendar
When first beginning to work with a client, it is a great idea to look ahead a few months, or more, to anticipate stories that may come down the pipeline. Recording the dates of international events, holidays and observations, firm anniversaries and other industry-related occurrences provides structure to a media relations campaign and will serve as a pleasant reminder of pitch topics throughout the year.
Create a Bank of Evergreen Topics
It is important to glean as much information as possible from introductory meetings with clients—learning all about their products, services, history, industry, competitors, goals and challenges. Instead of archiving this information, take the time to pick through it and identify ideas that might serve as strong, evergreen topics, writing down detailed pitch ideas and storing them in an accessible place. With a bank of non-time sensitive pitches, you will always have a backup when you need a pitch in a pinch.
Read Industry Publications
Getting into the mind of your clients requires you to read what they read. Regularly picking through trade publications, industry newsletters and company blogs will keep you up to date with the latest developments in the field, which are a treasure trove of pitch ideas. In fact, be sure to ask clients exactly which publications they tend to favor and if there are any journalists whose reporting they follow closely—this will ensure that you start on the right path from the very beginning.
Talk to Clients
Sometimes, the best way to refresh stale pitch ideas is to speak directly with clients. Arranging a call or an in-person meeting will allow you to hear what is on a client’s mind—what are they excited about, what is keeping them up at night—allowing you to better anticipate appropriate pitch opportunities.
If these steps come up empty, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and question everything from the bottom up. Working with a client over time allows us to increase our knowledge about their industry, but also solidifies assumptions that the population at large, and reporters, might not hold. Investigating previously covered issues from a new angle, exploring coverage of competitors in the field and asking basic questions again can unearth new insights and refresh a media campaign.
Media relations is one of the tried-and-true planks of public relations, but it’s important to take care that creativity doesn’t get lost in the process. Ensuring you have a vibrant, useful supply of pitch ideas will keep your media outreach fresh and timely.
What other ways do you use to develop fresh and creative pitch ideas?