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PR pitch blunders you don't know you're making; #3 the promise

By Alistair Wilkinson, Founder of The Media Room Ltd

This week I'm giving pointers to help you stop making the kind of PR pitch blunders I'd see all the time in my newsroom production roles. On Monday, I looked at how to structure your email. On Tuesday, I covered the follow up phone call. Today, I'm looking at the promise you make in your pitch.
Keep it real
This may sound self evident, but you'd be surprised how many pitches I came across which contained factual errors, or manipulations of the truth. Journalists don't like being lied to, or even over-promised to. Make sure you go over your copy with a fine-toothed comb, checking for accuracy.
If you're claiming your event is a 'New Zealand first' can you substantiate that? Don't say you're the biggest, the best, or the first, unless you really are.
Make sure your spokespeople are available
Once again, you'd think this is self-evident. But working in TV news I lost count of the number of times I rang the number on the bottom of a pitch email, only to find the talent was about to get on a plane, or was on holiday in Whakatane. So, if you're pitching to TV newsrooms, think about accessibility. Remember, they only have staff in major centres. To cover a regional event they need to either travel in, or hire a stringer. Either of these options involve a cost, which makes the story harder to get over the line.
Offer assistance
There are times when newsrooms miss out on valid stories because they don't have the resources to cover the event.
If you know your story is likely to fall off the back of the truck if a bigger one comes along offer to film it and FTP to the networks and radio stations.
You may be surprised how much news is gathered this way.
This strategy has the added bonus of keeping you in control, and giving you an asset you can use in your own content marketing plan.
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