Your Pitch Suck?I was catching up on my reading over the weekend and enjoyed reading the January edition of Inc. magazine that made mention of a free service called “Your Pitch Sucks.”   You sign up, share your pitch, and — within 24 hours — receive input from seasoned publicists who tell you why it's good — or not. That's brilliant!  There are fee-services available here, too.

I have conversations fairly regularly with DIY publicists who lament that they've responded to dozens and dozens of media queries with no success.  The problem isn't with the quantity.  Chances are, the problem is with the approach.

I just stumbled upon a Twitter post from Paul Hartunian, who is doing a series of blog posts about why your press release sucks. Tune in and see what you can learn.  He's got a very straight talking way of making his points, so consider yourself forewarned.   Still, he makes excellent points.  You can also listen to a free audio file with me and PR Leads Founder Dan Janal by visiting www.prleads.com/pressrelease.

Here are a few tips and techniques that continue to work very well for me as I reply to media queries and opportunities on HARO, ProfNet, and Gift List Media:

  • Make the copy in the subject line count.
  • Say something sassy, memorable, and on target that compels the recipient to want to open the email.  For example, “Milk Chocolate and ‘Expiration Date' DVD– A Delicious, Entertaining, and Affordable Stay-at-Home Date” is a whole lot more inviting than “Valentine's Gift Idea for Your Consideration.”
  • Get to the point quickly.
  • Follow instructions provided in the query.  Answer all the questions with impact, brevity, and style.
  • For example, if the reporter is looking for fabulous and frugal gift ideas to delight your Valentine, make clear you have exactly what she is looking for.  Offer an active link to a visual that makes the item impossible to ignore and easy to link to.  Make clear the price, where and how people can buy it, and describe why it is a perfect fit for the opportunity at hand.
  • Don't write a manifesto.  Get to the meat of the matter, address every item noted in the query, and offer a phone and email address to make it easy for the reporter to learn more.
  • Respond before the stated deadline.  The early bird often catches the worm.

If your pitching efforts are not delivering the results you want, it's time to examine your approach.  Keep expirationdoing what you are doing, and you are on a fast track to disappointment.  Follow these tips, and you'll be fast on your way to pitching success.  And, if you are still searching for the perfect, affordable, entertaining, and delicious gift for your Valentine, here is a link to make it easy to learn more.