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For PR Pros, Tone Can Be as Important as Pitch

October 29, 2009

I have a confession to make… I have EPOD: Exclamation Point Overuse Disorder. It’s something I deal with on a daily basis. Everything I work on excites me to the point that I feel one, if not several, exclamation points is necessary to make my point. People who get text messages and personal emails from me know that it is in my nature to employ hyperbole. I manage it. Professionally, though, this could be a problem.

Over the last several months, I have been studying pitching. By that, I mean reading lots of successful pitches that other people have written to get them placement in the world’s largest and most-read publications. MediaBistro AvantGuild is a virtual treasure trove of samples that you can study to help you craft your skills. Talking to other PR pros and bouncing ideas around is another great way to learn (though make sure you’re talking to someone you trust).

What I realized after reading countless pitches is that though these pitches were chock-full of content, stats, and examples, they also let the information speak for itself. Sometimes we, as PR pros, try to hard-sell our information. We try to convince journalists and bloggers that what our clients are doing is worth writing about. The truth is, if it’s that hard to sell the information, you either a) aren’t looking at it from the right angle, or b) you don’t have a story at all.

There’s no need for exclamation points when your content is relevant to the person you’re pitching. Take the time to investigate reporters and know what they’d like from you. Read the person your pitching’s stories, and try to understand his unique voice. Is he a serious kind of guy? If so, you might consider taking a more serious tone yourself when contacting him, leaving out any fluffy language you might use in other pitches. Is he a jokester? Use your humor to your advantage.

Appeal to the people you’re pitching on a human level. If “Content is King,” your delivery of said content is the Pawn, clearing the way for your content to be received clearly, and in a way journalists can relate to.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2009 3:05 pm

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. October 29, 2009 3:49 pm

    You make some excellent points, Esther!!! (I guess I should ease up on the exclamation marks too.)

    I worked as an ad copywriter when I began my career and the art directors always referred to ‘!’ as a ‘screamer’. That stuck with me and I think it’s a good way of approaching how we use the exclamation in any type of communication. We need to ask ourselves are we trying to start a conversation or jumping in at a fever pitch. That said, sometimes a little emphasis is a good thing!

    All the best with your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading it.

    • Esther Steinfeld permalink*
      October 29, 2009 4:11 pm

      I like it: a “screamer.” I’ll remember that. You’re right, we should emphasize when we need to, and in that case, a little enthusiasm can go a long way. Thank you Martin! (See, I can’t help myself.)

  3. November 5, 2009 12:54 am

    I our every interactions with another human it is imperative that we try to use psychological approach. It will decide how we are perceived by the other. 🙂

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