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PR pitch blunders you don't know you're making; #4 assets you supply

By Alistair Wilkinson, Founder of The Media Room Ltd.

This week I'm giving an insight into the areas where PR people go wrong pitching your stories to journalists. So far I've covered the email, the call and the promise you make.

Today I want to consider the assets you supply.

Filming your event

It surprises me how few people film their own events, given the simplicity of the process these days. A video is a brilliant asset to share with clients and prospects who couldn't be there, as part of a wider content strategy. Speeches can be segmented and distributed as part of your CEOs blog (I always recommend speeches are written with this in mind.)

A video can also be distributed to the media very quickly and cost-effectively these days over the internet. (If you're not familiar with FTP google it when you've finished with this.)

While some outlets don't use company supplied video, most will with a credit these days.

This is a particularly good strategy if your story falls into the 'nice to have' category for news editors. These kinds of stories are the first to go if a major story breaks. But, the coverage can be salvaged if you are able to supply footage and audio files to broadcasters.

Just to be clear, you can not assume that if you provide video footage the story will get a run. But you've got much more of a chance if you've followed this advice.

Writing your release like a news story

It is crucial you write your release in a way that makes it easy for a news editor to imagine it sitting in their publication. The best way to do this is to hire a journalist to write the story up.

I was talking to a colleague in Western Australia recently who told me her releases are now regularly published in trade magazines word for word. She's a former journalist working as a PR consultant. So, she has the experience and expertise to do the job effectively.  

Taking control of the message

Both these strategies help news teams to cover your event. They also give you the opportunity to hone your message before it reaches the newsroom.

A good camera-person/editor will be able to compile a short track with the best bits of your presentation to share, allowing you far more control of how the message goes out.

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