There’s an Art to Pitching Business? Presentation Skills You Need to Know

There’s an Art to Pitching Business? Presentation Skills You Need to Know

For many of us, presenting in front of large groups can be a daunting task. Just think back to your school days – you dreaded getting up in front of the class to present your book report or science project. All you could think about at that time was “I can’t wait until I’m an adult and I don’t have to give presentations again!”

However, little did we know that for many of us presentation skills could make or break you in business.

Just ask Peter Coughter, the president of Coughter & Company, which consults with leading advertising agencies around the world. Coughter is also the author of the well-known book, The Art of The Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills That Win Business, which offers advertising and marketing professionals the tools and tips to develop and give great presentations that deliver business and grow as a professional.

In his book, Coughter asserts that simply having the best work or the best ideas is not enough to win business. You must show the audience, or potential client, that you want their business and are willing to do what it takes to win it. In order to do that, Coughter offers a few tips on the art of pitching and developing a great presentation:

  1. Know Your Audience: It is easy to talk to people you know, right? So, get to know your audience before the pitch. In the time before you presentation, spend as much time as you can understanding your audience both as a whole and as individuals. What kind of people are they? What are their demographics and cultures? Where are they on the issue or topic you’ll be discussing? What are their expectations? You should even go as far as finding out about their personal lives. What are their hobbies? Where did they go to school? Are the sports fans?
  2. Have a Conversation: The mortal sin of presenting is talking at your audience and boring them. You must make your presentation conversational and get the audience involved. When you do this, your audience will feel less like they are being lectured and be more likely to remember what you said.
  3. Make It Personal: Great presenters are not afraid to introduce a level of intimacy as most people make decisions emotionally. If you share a personal story, the audience is able to relate to you on a higher level and it helps you build credibility and make lasting connections.
  4. Work as a Team: Teamwork really does make the dream work. When a team doesn’t like one another or get along, a client or potential client will sense it immediately. Even if the team’s presentation is perfect and they offer great ideas, the only thing the audience will take away from it is, “If the team can’t get along, how will they successfully work on our business?” And, you won’t win the business.
  5. Rehearse: It is paramount that you rehearse your entire presentation out loud and that you know your material – not just your part, but also everyone’s. If you do so, the presentation will feel natural and even give the appearance of spontaneity to the audience. In addition, the chances of surprises arising on the day of the presentation will decrease significantly.
  6. Be Yourself: The most important thing to remember is to be yourself, be human and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. In fact, Coughter asserts that the most amazing presenters acknowledge their mistakes and attract the audience by being so honest, vulnerable and authentic. If you’re not, the audience will immediately recognize it and they won’t believe that your ideas or advice are genuine. Ultimately, you’ll end up losing the business because of it.

From winning business and bringing in revenue, to creating great relationships, a great presentation can open many doors for you as a professional or firm in public relations, marketing and advertising. A bad one can also close many doors. So make sure your next presentation is perfect by remembering the art of a pitch.


By Maggie Markert, Senior Strategist

Maximizing Visibility for Medical Devices Throughout the FDA Approval Process

Pursuing FDA approval for your medical device can be an exciting time for any company in the healthcare space. Whether you are taking the path of the FDA’s premarket approval (PMA) process or the 510(k), the regulatory milestones along the way create multiple opportunities for a company to begin generating visibility and awareness for the product.

These key milestones include:

  • Clinical Trials
  • PMA/510(K) Submission
  • Advisory Committee Meeting
  • FDA Approval
  • Launch

A PR strategy that beings at the start of clinical trials and keep key stakeholders informed along the way will enable you to be prepared for each step, maximizing visibility throughout the process, and hit the ground running once your product receives FDA approval.

Clinical Trials – Announcing the commencement of clinical trials (first patient enrolled) and the achievement of key milestones can be announced through press releases and promoted to the media. At this stage, it is important to identify your top media contacts and influencers so that you can keep them informed throughout the process. Phase I and II clinical trials will generate the most interest among trade publications, while Phase III trials will be of interest to a wider array of media, potentially including mainstream media.

Once the clinical trials end and the submission is being prepared, it can be a good time to launch an issues campaign that supports the need for your device in the industry, educates stakeholders and helps build awareness. This type of campaign can help lay the groundwork for the filing and advisory board meetings.

PMA/510(K) Submission – Prior to the company submitting its application for FDA approval, it’s important that all the pieces of the communications strategy are in place to support the company through the advisory meetings and begin the push toward launch. This includes finalizing key messages and supporting points, identifying and preparing KOLs, and conducting any non-clinical research that will help support the launch of the product, such as market research or surveys. The PMA submission should be announced through a press release and interviews with key reporters should be scheduled with company executives.

Advisory Committee Meetings – Advisory Committee meetings leading up to approvals are a key milestone for awareness and visibility. It is important to issue a press release in advance of each meeting – to announce the scheduled meeting date and to inform media of this important milestone – and also to announce the outcome immediately upon the close of each meeting, preferably the same day. Industry media are likely to attend these meetings, particularly if your device is high profile. You can contact the FDA communications team assigned to your device category for additional insight into which media have registered to attend the meeting or might be there. Therefore, company spokespeople should be prepared with media talking points and a QA in advance of the meeting for on-site interviews. Key media contacts not in attendance should be briefed via phone as soon as possible following a successful meeting.

FDA Approval – Assuming that all goes well, the FDA will alert the company that the product is “approvable” and a date will be set by which time your company will receive official word of approval. While it is sometimes hard to know the specific date that the approval will be received, you should be prepared with all materials and communications plans in place so that you can push out the press release immediately upon notice. All key reporters should be pre-briefed on milestones to date and the outcome of the advisory board meeting. Key KOLs, clinical trial sites that you are using for media, and others who will serve as media references should be media trained and provided with key message points. Photos, videos and other multimedia assets should be prepared, captioned and made available on your website for download (this page can be hidden until the approval is official.) Once the FDA approval is formalized, an aggressive PR campaign in support of the product can begin.


Likely there will be some time between FDA approval and the actual commercial launch of the product to target market. At this point, you should have a strong foundation of visibility and awareness for your product, which will help you build momentum towards the commercial launch. But that, my PR friends, is a topic for another blog!

Any tips to share for maximizing visibility through the FDA process? Let us know.

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By: Jennifer Moritz, Managing Principal

Four Tips to Getting Client Coverage When They Have No News

A client with a strong pipeline of newsworthy announcements is as exciting as winning the lottery to most PR professionals. The media craves hard numbers, customer partnerships, funding, and new products. More often than not, however, early stage companies don’t have a never-ending stream of announcements. This can be a major challenge, but nearly ten years in the industry and numerous start-up clients have given me some great ways to make sure that a lack of hard news doesn’t mean a lack of great hits.

Look to Executives and Unique Employees

It might be time to refresh your media contacts that cover entrepreneurial journeys. There are full publications that solely focus on productiveness, leadership, and management styles. and often feature small companies and start-ups with distinct perspectives. The New York Times has a recurring section called “Corner Office” dedicated to leadership and management.

In addition, find out if any of the company’s employees have any extreme hobbies or interests that impact their business style. Does the CEO fly a plane or volunteer with his therapy dogs? Sometimes it’s the people at an organization and their stories that grab the attention of reporters, which can lead to coverage of the company.

Stay Local

Local publications like to see the impact that your client is making in the community. Does your client participate in local volunteer work? Has their company grown recently in size and/or revenue, adding more jobs? Do they simply have a cool office space? All of these angles can lead to securing media coverage. Explore the various news sections of your clients’ local media outlets and see what angles are available.

Create Your Own Content

With a 24-hour news cycle, publications are always looking for high-quality, pre-packaged content from experts. Now is the time to pick a couple of “topics to own” – areas where your client is expert – and pitch targeted bylines to publications that accept them. If you’re not sure where to start, set up an interview with the executive you’re working with. Ask good, reporter-style questions and look for an angle that’s a little bit different than all of the other articles on the topic.

What’s Trending?

Chances are that you are already monitoring news in your clients’ industries. Use this to your advantage. If a competitor is getting covered, pitch those same media contacts. If a certain topic is trending that your client can speak to, introduce them to the relevant reporters and editors for follow-on stories. In times of sparse news, it also pays to think outside your core media list and look to writers in associated areas or verticals.

There is no shortage of PR professionals working to get their clients media coverage. In fact, it is estimated that there are four times more PR pros than journalists in the U.S., all competing to get their clients coverage. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that no matter which path you choose to secure media coverage, knowing your audience and standing out from the crowd should be at the core of your strategy. Happy pitching!

By: Alyson Kuritz

The role of research in media relations

In PR, it is always best to have the facts on your side. From pitching a new client to building a strategic communications plan to finding the right media pitch targets, research plays a critical supporting role in helping you to make smart, informed recommendations.

There are various types of research involved in PR: primary research, which can be focus groups, phone interviews, online surveys; and secondary research, which includes market and industry research, news tracking, competitive analysis, media and analyst audits, and media/social media analysis and more. Each of these tools can provide PR professionals with important information to inform your overall business and communications strategies.

At Zer0 to 5ive, we start every client engagement with research, because we believe that the best marketing and public relations programs are well informed.

Here are some of the ways that research can help improve your PR practice:

The New Client Pitch – Know your client, its competitors, its market, who covers them, and where they have been covered. All of this information and knowledge is based on research that should be conducted prior to any client pitch meeting. While secondary research is a must, primary research can also be very valuable. For example – when pitching a new client, conducting a consumer survey or interviewing target customers can add an additional level of insight and win points with a perspective client.

The PR Plan – When you are building the PR plan, research helps you strategize and set realistic goals, and will help ensure that your messaging is relevant and compelling. Making recommendations based on research – why you chose a specific target audience, how you came up with the tagline, why you are targeting a certain tradeshow for launch – will enable you to answer the client question: “Why are you recommending this strategy?” By conducting the appropriate amount of research, you will be able to support your recommendations with confidence.

The Media Pitch – Both the pitch and the media targets should be well researched. Who are you targeting? What type of stories do they write? How do they like to communicate? And when writing the pitch research can make it more compelling. What’s trending in the industry? Can you use metrics or statistics in your pitch to make it more relevant? Client-sponsored primary research, from online surveys or focus groups, for example, is also great fodder for media. You can package this research in an infographic or press release to help promote your client.

These are just some of the many ways that research helps to support the work we do here at Zer0 to 5ive. How do you use research in your PR program?

Post by Jennifer Moritz, Prinicpal

5 Tips for Building Relationships with Media

I think it’s fair to say that at some point in everyone’s public relations career, they’ve employed some form of the “spray and pray” pitching method. Shooting a press release or pitch out to everyone on a media list to see who bites can work on occasion, but a much more strategic and long-lasting approach is to create relationships with reporters.

I’m lovingly known around the office as the “media stalker.” Don’t worry, I haven’t crossed any lines, but it’s hard to be ignored when you feel that you have crafted the perfect pitch to the perfect reporter. So, when emails and phone calls don’t work, I often turn to alternative methods like social media, which often turns out well!

When the opportunity to listen in on a Webinar hosted by PR Newswire titled “You had me at Hello,” aimed at discussing the delicate PR/media relationships arose, I jumped at the chance.

While I was already aware of most of the tips provided, it served as a great reminder. I’ve outlined the top 5 takeaways from the presentation for you:

1. Create the relationship before you need the relationship

Everyone knows someone in their life that only reaches out when they need a favor. You don’t want to be that person. Instead, initiate a conversation with reporters before your breaking news hits. Offer introductory interviews with your clients. Provide the media some form of value, such as a third-party resource, before jumping in and asking them to cover your client.

2. Do your research

Have you ever reached out to what looks like the perfect contact in a media database only to get a response asking to be removed from your list? Although a great resource, sometimes keywords provided in media database searches can be misleading.

We’re lucky that we are now able to get insights about reporters through social media. Knowing your target by looking at previous coverage and reviewing their Twitter account is more important than ever. For every one journalist, there are 4.6 PR professionals trying to get their clients exposure. Uncover what the journalist’s interests are and what they’re currently covering, before connecting with them.

Google Alerts have been a great resource for me to find out who is reporting on the topic that I want covered. I’m then able to reference their recent piece, which provides the reporter with confidence that I follow their work.

3. Be a resource

You’ve found the right contact, you’re ready to engage in a mutually beneficial relationship, now what? Introduce yourself as a resource. The more assets you have ready to go, the better. This can include industry metrics, third-party contacts, executive interviews, images, b-roll, customers and case studies. They might not use one or any of your resources, but not being prepared can cause issues. Journalists are on deadlines. If you don’t have assets ready to go, they might move onto the next story idea or use stock photography. It makes such a huge difference to have a photo of the actual client or product accompany a story.

While it’s great to have photos and videos available, don’t attach them to an introductory email. It could suck up the reporter’s data, and could put you on a blacklist. Keep attachments, if any, small. If they want a high-res version, they’ll ask for it. A great alternative that a number of my clients use is a press resource web page, which houses high quality deliverables for the reporters.

4. Be your own devil’s advocate

This idea was proposed by James Pearson, EVP Corporate Communications at Grooveshark, one of the Webinar presenters. James advised asking yourself, “is this news?” Propose the questions the reporter would ask you. At this stage, it’s a good idea to use your coworkers. Bounce ideas and pitches off of each other. I’ve found that sometimes the best people to do this with are those who are not on the account with you. An “outsider” can oftentimes offer a new perspective.

Pearson also suggested professionals put themselves in the journalists’ shoes, and understand they’re going to have to talk to their editor. The more unique and comprehensive the pitch, the more likely you are to get a positive response.

5. Don’t forget to follow up

I think one of the most overlooked and underutilized practices is following up. To maintain a close relationship with the media, it’s nice to say “thank you” when a story is published. Tweet the piece and share it via social media. Additional exposure you can provide them is always welcomed. It’s also good practice to check in periodically with contacts you haven’t connected with in a while.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve circled back with reporters to see how they’re doing, what they’re working on, etc. and been told “you reached out at the perfect time. I’m doing a story on xyz.”

The bottom line is reporters are smart. They know when you’re sending them the same message as the other 100 people on your list. Treat them as the individuals they are, and you’ll get responses, respect, and maybe a few hits along the way!

Post by Alyson Kuritz, Strategist

Tips for Breakthrough PR Writing

The importance of writing well cannot be emphasized enough in public relations. For PR Pros, writing is a core competency that is a part of everything that we do – whether that’s a press release, a pitch, a blog post, or just an email to a client. Not only is your work being judged by those paying your salary, but your peers and clients also form impressions about you based on how well you communicate. How we write is a key part of our personal brand.

In listening to a recent PRWeek webinar, titled, “Tips for Breakthrough PR Writing,” I got some critical reminders about the importance of strong writing skills. Often, it’s the little things that count the most. These basic tips were great refreshers on how important it is to pay attention to detail and how be thorough in everything you write.

1. Frame the news

Hype is not news, as every editor will tell you. Words like “state-of-the-art, revolutionary, and first-of-its-kind,” should be thrown out of written vocabulary. Editors want you to get to the point, and fast. Think like the prospects you are pitching – what would make you interested in a story? The opening paragraph of any written piece should be as simple as possible and tell the most important elements to the story. If your first paragraph doesn’t do that, chances are, the reading will stop there. Make sure you know what is really newsworthy. Ask yourself, is it timely? Is there a reason to write about this now, or can it wait? Can you tie your story to anything happening in the world today? Making your writing relevant and keeping it simple are two key elements to PR success.

2. Master the 3 Cs…clear, concise & compelling

Tap into the power of simplicity, e.g. the Nike slogan “Just Do It”. If it can be said in three words instead of five, go with three. This avoids confusion and gets rid of unnecessary extras. After all, time is tight for those in media, so make it quick. Often we can’t just write how we talk, because our conversation is more casual than the written word. But think about how you would tell someone a story and, if you can, write it that way (taking grammar into account). Acronyms in emails to clients should be used sparingly, especially if they aren’t ones that are used regularly in their business. No one wants to have to send you a follow-up email just to ask you what you meant by your acronym shorthand. Finally, have you ever noticed that when you send emails to clients with multiple points and questions, it takes much longer for them to get back to you? Only include key points in emails. This will ensure that the important stuff gets read and answered.

3. Break on through… engaging subject lines & headlines

Always remember what the point of the subject line is in an email: to entice the prospect to open the email. If it’s wordy or takes more than a few seconds to comprehend, the email’s not getting opened. The subject line should help the editor or reporter picture the title of a potential article, so it should be just as short and punchy as the titles of the articles you are attracted to read.

4. Tone it for your audience

We can’t control how our tone sounds on the other end of emails. What might sound perfectly fine to us when we hit the send button can come across as angry, curt or blunt on the other end. Be mindful of how you “speak” in an email. One way to combat this issue is to have a peer read your email first before sending for tone. Getting an objective third party to review your email can help flag any possible misunderstandings before they are created. Never be condescending or presumptuous in an email to editors. If they made a mistake or missed something, there is a right way to ask them to correct it and a wrong way. Make sure that you know the difference!

5. Give grammar your best shot

It’s amazing how some of the smartest and most successful people still make common grammatical errors. No one is immune to these simple mistakes. Some of the most common errors include noun-pronoun agreement, subject-verb agreement, tense consistency, and sentence structure. Consider the image on the right – the first sentence sounds like we want to eat our grandmother, and the second sentence correctly states that we are telling our grandmother that we want to start eating, with her! Punctuation can truly save lives (or, at least, your latest pitch/memo/email, etc.!).

Post by Colleen DeVine, Director

Measuring PR ROI: Why Counting Hits Means Nothing

Measuring a PR program can be difficult.

How and what you measure can vary based on the goals of your program and who your audience is.

I recently attended a measurement conference held by Cision and Vocus in New York that discussed this topic. The room was full of PR professionals from all industries and company sizes. Everyone was in agreement that ad equivalency is “dead,” and that there needs to be a better way to measure the impact of PR.

The push back on ad equivalency and the ineffectiveness of this comparison was based on the fact that an earned editorial placement is much more credible and more likely to be read than an ad. It also is fair to say that the size of an article and the size of the ad are not comparable. This becomes even more inaccurate for online placements, where articles and banner ads are even less comparable.

When you’re asked to justify the investment for a PR program, where do you start to measure?

In my experience, it has been all about quality, with a little bit of quantity in the mix. At the core of almost every PR plan is the goal to increase leadership and awareness, and there are simple ways to track and measure these efforts.

Measuring Awareness

First, understand what you want to raise awareness of – a product, the company, a service, or all three. From there, identify specific messages you want to communicate. For example, if you are a cloud-based software company, you might want to increase awareness of the company, as well as the software you are selling. Awareness of the company is important to establish credibility and awareness of the software is vital to drive customers.

Next, identify your targets for the business, vertical market and technology audiences. What are they reading? Where are they getting their information? From there, it’s a matter of working against a list of 10-20 top targets for quality articles that can help you meet your objectives. Month after month, measure the progress made in those top targets, and challenge yourself to be more creative with each passing month.

Measuring Thought Leadership

When it comes to establishing yourself as a thought leader, it is important to identify what you want to be a thought leader in. Identifying a few topics to “own” will help keep you focused and the coverage relevant. Bylined articles on business trends or commentary in larger feature stories are where a thought leader can shine. It is important to identify the stories or publications that align with your goals. Be judicious in offering your clients each and every opportunity that comes up just to keep the business in the news. Within a time-limited budget, building relationships and pitching new ideas to your top-tier list may be more worthwhile.

Another great opportunity for measuring thought leadership is through Twitter and LinkedIn. Through the measurement tools available online and by tracking clicks and web traffic, you can gain informative insight into who is reading your articles, sharing them, and then visiting your site. Connecting companies directly with reporters and influencers through social media channels also keeps your business top of mind and engaged in the industry.

The next time your company issues a press release, and you see there were 240 “hits” through PR Newswire, ask yourself what impact that had. The answer is likely little to no impact at all. Redefining how you measure PR will help you gain more effective results for the program and the client.

Post by Kathleen Fusco, Director

This Is How You Pitch: Being a Rockstar in Your First Year of PR

It is no secret that the world of PR is a tough one, and the first year on the job is one of the most difficult. For most, the first year is dedicated to learning the core skill of the PR business – pitching! Crafting the right email, making the right phone call to the right person, having the right conversation, and securing top-tier coverage is not always an easy task.

As I prepare to enter my second year at Zer0 to 5ive, a colleague suggested that I read the book, This Is How You Pitch: How To Kick Ass In Your First Years of PR, by Ed Zitron. As the title reveals, this book dishes the inside secrets on the steps to becoming a successful PR maven. Plus, the book provided me with some great advice on what not to do as I move forward in my career.

So, how do you succeed in your first year of PR?

1. Make your pitches sound like a human being wrote them.

Here’s the truth: reporters are underpaid, overworked and inundated with emails. Pitches need to be clear, and to the point. In fact, Zitron suggests writing your pitch to a 12-year-old who may care (a little) about what you’re doing, but isn’t necessarily willing to put too much time into what you have to say.

2. Keep your pitch short and sweet.

Again, remember that reporters are overloaded. As Zitron notes, the good ones receive somewhere between 300-500 emails per day! This means, many pitches are left unread, because there is no time or energy to look through everything. So, how does Zitron guarantee that your email is read?

Keep your pitch to 175 words or less. Make the pitch “easy to skim,” so that a reporter can quickly and easily get the gist of what you’re saying. This not only makes life easier for the reporter, but will also position you in a more favorable light when you reach out again in the future.

3. Do the background research.

The PR world is busy and often, we PR people don’t have enough hours in the day to complete all of our tasks. Because of this, it’s even more important to spend our time pitching the right reporter. As Zitron explains, this means doing the background research! It’s imperative to know who your target reporters are and what these reporters are writing about. It’s also a good idea to keep up on any trends or stories that are going on, so your pitch aligns with what they are covering.

This process may seem laborious, but in the long run, putting in the additional work upfront will not only make your job easier but it will allow you to be more successful when it comes to getting those big hits!

Using these simple tips will help you survive your first year(s) in the business and turn yourself into the top PR pro you always thought you could be!

Post by Ariela Weinberger
Associate Strategist

How to Build Buzz When the News Well Has Run Dry

We’ve all been there. Those times when we wait and hope that our clients will bring us new, juicy fodder: a product launch, an event, or some big partnership that will get the phones (or more likely, our email) buzzing with interest from the media.

But we are only kidding ourselves, because those days are over! As PR professionals, we can’t afford to wait for our clients to bring us news. Our job is to build buzz constantly, even when the news well is dry!

At Zer0 to 5ive, we have become masters at this much-needed and desired skill. Listed below are a few tips we use on our teams. Hopefully, you’ll find one or more that you haven’t tried yet and can add them to your media relations toolkit.

1. Think like a journalist. Ask yourself, what story does the journalist want to tell? Would this subject line grab gain attention? And what are the ingredients I need to tell this story? Also, think visually! Visuals help journalists with context. The media loves statistics that serve as proof points. Also, are there multiple sources the journalist would need to tell the story? If so, do your best to connect them to all the right people.

2. Leverage unique stories of executives. Does your client have a unique management style, a cool work culture, or an interesting story about how they got started? Leverage these assets to secure executive Q&As.

3. Explore local angles. Local journalists love a good story about how a company or entrepreneur is impacting people living in their own backyards. Explore local broadcast opportunities, especially if you have good visuals.

4. Schedule media days. Some old school tactics still live on in modern day pitching, and one of those is a good, old-fashioned media days. Schedule time for executives to meet face-to-face with top media targets, even if just for a coffee and introduction. Your client may get to pitch their company and tell the bigger story that often doesn’t come across in a simple phone call or email.

5. Make relationship-building calls. Not every phone call to a reporter needs to be a pitch. Build a relationship with the media! Call because you want to see what they are working on and help out with a source, even when it’s not for your own self-interest. Add them on Twitter and engage in conversation.

6. Host periodic sourcing sessions. Meet with client executives (outside the Communications department) to uncover news and angles you may not otherwise know about. Interview sales teams who are in the trenches. They can see trends happening before they are mainstream and can tell you what a customer’s pain points are as well as their needs.

7. Expand coverage to verticals where possible. Once you have generated awareness in the top business or tech press, leverage case studies and customer testimonials where your client’s product or service is generating positive results and pitch to the relevant vertical media outlets

8. Conduct rapid response pitching. Create Google alerts for industry and competitor news so you can stay on top of what’s happening in your client’s space. Look for the opportunity to follow up with media through a rapid response pitch that features a new story angle (including your client, of course!)

What tactics do you use to gain media coverage in slow news periods? Let us know in the comments section below!

Post by Colleen DeVine
Zer0 to 5ive Director

Top Five Media Pitching Tips


One of PR’s most frequently asked questions is, “What is the ‘best’ way to pitch the media?” And while everyone has their own opinion as to what works best, I’ve compiled a list of the top five tips that have worked for me and led to great coverage.

1. Know Your Audience
It has been repeated by media of all kinds, from bloggers to high profile editors at The New York Times, that their biggest pet peeve is getting a cookie cutter pitch – one that sometimes that has nothing to do with what they write about. If you’ve been dying to be in a certain publication or covered by a specific reporter, it’s crucial that you know what they cover and what they’ve written about recently. The more you can demonstrate that you’re familiar with their interests and that your pitch aligns with their beat(s), the more likely you are to get a response.

2. Use the News
Review the news, regularly. Stay up to date on what is happening in and out of your clients’ industries. Freshly released studies can help you transform your pitch to an article with an evergreen angle while piggybacking current events can be a great way to garner timely, relevant coverage.

3.Tweet, Connect and Like – Social Media is a Vital Tool
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve emailed what I thought to be an extremely relevant topic to an editor, only to receive no response to my initial pitch or follow up. If this ever happens to you (and I’m sure it has!), don’t forget that now more than ever, journalists are communicating via social media, particularly Twitter. A Tweet mentioning something of interest to them or asking what their preferred method of contact is, shows that you’re interested in them and making their lives easier.

4. Remove “Rejection” from Your Vocabulary
Did you send a well-thought-out pitch to an editor only to receive a simple “no thanks”? Don’t leave it at that. Thank them for taking them time to respond, ask for feedback (do they ever plan on writing on that topic?), or ask if there is a different editor that would be interested in the topic.

5. Shorter is Better
It’s no secret; editors get hundreds of emails per day. They don’t have time to read through a few paragraphs of fluff. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be creative, just do it with brevity. Something humorous, when used appropriately, can help to get the reader’s attention. Just remember to present the most relevant and eye-catching information in as little words as possible. It’s OK to leave them looking for more.

Happy Pitching!

Post by Alyson Kuritz
Zer0 to 5ive Strategist