Pitching to the press: be careful of keywords!

PR, briefing, keyword

I’m writing a small story for a new client at the moment. It’s a fun piece. It’s aimed at small retailers and it’s specifically about sale events (and yes, I’m writing this in advance so it won’t appear online until the piece is public).

The site is aimed at small independent resellers. There’s generally better money in writing for the big guns, they have more finance; I do enjoy writing for and about people who are tiny independent businesses like mine. It’s about sales – as in sale events, January sales, that sort of thing.

Some of the pitches have been very good. They took all of the above into account. Some are not.

Size can be important

One of them, for example, was from a major High Street store. Now, I have nothing against major High Street stores. But if someone is writing about and for smaller businesses, a pitch like “here’s how Sainsbury’s does it” is only so much use.

Another went: “The thing to do is to capture every customer’s detail from every sale. Track them, send them the relevant offers and ensure you have a relationship.”

All good advice in general but how does this relate specifically to the one-off sale event, I asked? Oh, came the reply, it doesn’t. I thought you meant selling in general.

Which wouldn’t have been so bad if they hadn’t already been back to their client to source several paragraphs of good but completely irrelevant sense.

You only read one word, didn’t you?

The problem in both cases, and yes I did ask, was that they’d just seen the word “sale” and sourced a load of verbiage that seemed vaguely relevant. They hadn’t done anything about the detail, so they’d missed the fact that the client was irrelevant in one case and the subject was way off beam in the other.

I have some sympathy. PR is a pressured job. But as I’ve often said to my daughter when she’s coming up to exams, taking the time to read the question first can¬†literally save hours working on something that’s literally never going to produce¬†anything like a good result.

Do you need help talking to the press and preparing messages? Email me by clicking here and we’ll talk.


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