“Hi, my client is the business of cashback, and we have done a survey on the purchase patterns of consumers during Diwali. Oh, wait you have already received a similar pitch?”
Of course, they have. There are hundreds of brands in the same space trying to sell the same intelligence to the same set of journalists. Today in this landscape dominated by shrinking attention spans, fake news and endless brand wars, as a communication professional somehow we have gotten used to journalists telling us “ There is nothing DIFFERENT about your client” – the focus here is on the word different, and the pressure is always to “RECREATE” story angles so as to grab some headlines. So, the million-dollar question here for all communication professionals is how do we innovate and create new content each time, even if the client is not doing something ‘PR-able’?
Firstly, it is important to understand…
Is that being a pitch? What is your punchline?
‘I am Roshan and have started a company which is in the business of hotels’; Well Roshan, there are millions of entrepreneurs who have started out in the same space, and unless you have become profitable in your first year of operations, nobody wants to write about you. Therefore, as a PR person you need to advise your client to re-align his storytelling tactics and build in some drama around the same. “Roshan was at IIT Chennai, he left engineering in his first year to startup on his own at a young age of 19, and today after 2 failures and 2 acquisitions at the age of 44, he has turned his hotel business into a profitable entity.” This is what the journalist will want to know more about and therefore he will want to listen to Roshan’s story.
Does your pitch have ‘why now’ – Creating FOMO in your pitches?
Why should the journalist care about your pitch right now? Will the journalist feel that he is missing out on something, if he doesn’t talk to you today? It is important to create FOMO in your pitches and give out a sense of urgency so that the journalist understands the need of doing the story tomorrow. Therefore, sharing releases on an embargo or exclusive basis works best in some cases, wherein the journalist feels that if he doesn’t take it up today, someone else will have and eat the cake too.
Stitching the thread….
With a recent Assocham report stating that India’s production of e-waste is likely to increase by 5.2 MMT per annum by 2020, our client which is in the business of electronics has decided to launch a nationwide e-waste campaign’. Associating with recent trends/ reports / white papers which is already making a lot of news, gives your client an advantage which is to be a part of the current dialogue. The journalist also raises an eyebrow when you send him this pitch as no one wants to miss the bus to Santa Claus town.
The ‘Eye’ Effect….
Data is a weapon only when it is strategically used. Representing data in forms of infographics, charts, graphs and visual relevant images always work well in terms of explaining your point better. ‘Only 3% engineers in India are employable, and only 35% can speak fluent English’; such headlines with infographics are sure to capture a lot of media attention.
Curiosity DOESN’T always kill the cat….
In 2015, when the word ‘hyperlocal’ was first used for startups like Zomato, Big Basket, Swiggy, it was a fairly new term and there was no precedence of companies operating on similar business models. Similarly, terms like ‘neighbourhood discovery apps’, ‘content discovery platforms’, created a lot of buzz in India, with apps like inshorts, magicpin, mydala, Dailyhunt, owning some of these terms. Therefore, it is important to coin some interesting terms and own the same for your client, this helps in generating curiosity in your pitches and also has a fair share of recall. Sometimes, those terms also become synonymous to your client’s business, for example: Aspiring Minds, which is in the business of determining employment credibility of Indian engineers has almost owned the term ‘employability’. By increasingly using the word employability in their release headlines, the maximum searches on Google for this term results in multiplied visibility for Aspiring Minds as a brand.
In the constantly evolving game of communications, falling behind is an easy choice; however, the real challenge is to create stories and pitches which impact topline. It is then that our clients will start seeing and recognising the value that we add as an individual and as a profession to his business. As rightly said by Bill Gates- “If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget, I’d spend it on PR!”, I think effective storytelling is the key piece to making that happen.