Pitching the Big Wigs: What to say in your 7 seconds

By: Talia Andrews, Sr. Account Manager, Fusion PR

Ah…building relationships with the big guys… a task that every PR professional has been intimidated by at some point in their career. Will you get hung up on? Yes. Will you get insulted? That depends…but most likely. Will you get through to someone, tell your story and get a fabulous hit? You sure will…and let me say, it is one of the best feelings in the world!


So how do we go about telling that story? Here are some tips and tricks I think will help you land those please-all hits:


Do Your Research!


Many of these influential “big guns” get a billion e-mails and phone calls a day, many of which will have no relevance to the reporter’s coverage area. So, before you pick up the phone or draft that pitch, take 20-30 minutes to read his/her recent work. Do you see and trends? Has he/she written about the topic you are pitching recently? Can you tie in a previous article/quote from an article to what you pitching? Think of all these questions as you review articles and coverage.


Your “7 Seconds” on the Phone:


After the initial,“Hi, I’m Joe Smith calling on behalf of XXX company” you have approximately 7 seconds to catch the reporter’s attention. As these 7 seconds can determine whether he/she continues to listen, chose those words wisely. I like to think about this as I pick up the phone, or, I guess you can alter it to “7 words” when writing an e-mail pitch. My advice:

  • Reference a recent article: “I just read your latest piece on social networking and thought XXX could offer a unique spin as they are the ONLY Company doing XXX in the space…”
  • Pose a unique question: “What happens to the 50 million photos uploaded to social networking sites every day?”
  • Remain confident. At the end of the day, your confidence in yourself and your story is extremely contagious. Why should the reporter believe you if you don’t believe in yourself? When speaking to these reporters, speak clearly and slowly (not too slow though), keeping in mind you might never get a whole minute to tell your story.

While it may take a little time, research and targeted pitches do pay off. Reporters will start to remember you and use you as a resource for story creation and support.


Just remember, be confident in the products or companies you represent, and don’t be afraid to make the call.

1 Comment
  • walshy8508

    September 30, 2008 at 8:44 pm Reply

    The “Big Wigs” will have nothing on you if you follow these guidelines. Ms. Andrews gave informative, yet honest information, which as most of us can agree upon, we need to soak up wherever possible with the known stereotypes in our industry.
    Expect the unexpected, plan ahead, sum up worst case scenarios. As PR professionals, this is our job so it only makes sense to RESEARCH and be ready to be “thrown in the ring.”
    Ms. Andrews shares an excellent point that reporters will remember you. Networking can be endless and what a small industry public relations really is.

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