PRfect Pitch focuses on interviewing media and key event managers who PR agencies pitch regularly on behalf of clients. As the name implies, successful pitching is a key ingredient in achieving results as a public relations professional.

The podcast discusses how and when to pitch a story to editors and producers who in turn learn which PR sources can be trusted to bring them interesting stories that resonate with their audience. 

Our eighth guest was PRNews Editor Seth Arenstein. In this episode, you’ll hear about the type of pitch that gets Arenstein excited, what happens when sensitive information is accidentally leaked, and why it’s important to set the ground rules before meeting with a journalist. Here are a few takeaways:

Know When Something is On or Off the Record

Sometimes, a CEO and/or person of authority drops something in an interview they shouldn’t. It happens to the best of us.

However, even if you ask a journalist to keep that information out of their story, it’s ultimately up to them whether or not they’ll include it. Asking doesn’t guarantee.

If you’re a journalist and asked by a PR professional to not include a particular piece of information in your story, do you share it anyway? This is where relationships with the media come into play. 

A journalist’s job is to build resources because they want their own Rolodex of people they can go to for their stories. However, a journalist is still human and needs to do their job. 

It can be difficult to backtrack when they hear something that’s valuable to your audience, but as a friend, you’ll be more likely to not have that information leaked.

Offer an Exclusive if Classified Information is Said During an Interview

One way to help this classified information stay private is by offering that journalist an exclusive. This is music to a journalist’s ears.

Both NRPR Group CEO Nicole Rodrigues and Seth Arenstein say that offering a journalist the exclusive right to break your story will not only help this information stay private as long as possible, but it also gives the journalist an incentive to keep the information quiet until it can be announced.

In this case, not only is the journalist getting an exclusive, but it  them the opportunity to continue writing their story without the slip getting in the way.

Journalists Don’t like Blast Pitches

As we hear often, journalists don’t like pitches that have been blasted. Why? Because it shows you haven’t done your homework. Pitching 12 media friendlies is immensely better than blasting 500 people. If 10 people out of the 500 respond, then you’ve upset 490 other journalists and are risking a potential relationship.

The takeaway? Develop relationships with the media, so you only need to pitch a handful of people you can trust.

Arenstein suggests when it comes to pitching, ask what stories a journalist is working on and how you can help. You can quite literally say something along the lines of “Hey Seth, what are you working on and how can I help?” Something as simple as this will often get you a response.

This not only saves you time on writing a pitch that may not be responded to, but allows them to tell you what they need, and provide you with the opportunity to explain why your client would make a great fit. 

Without the Media, PR Professionals Wouldn’t Have Jobs

PR professionals and journalists are like peanut butter and jelly. Without one, the other just isn’t as good.

This is why when Nicole heard from a colleague, “I’m great at strategizing, so I don’t pitch,” she was surprised.  As soon as you stop pitching and no longer build relationships with the media, you won’t grow in your career. 

The strategy should always be to build media relationships because without them, PR professionals wouldn’t have people to go to for resources and simply wouldn’t have a job.

The ultimate goal is for people to take the resources brought to life through journalism seriously. With a strong partnership where PR people work closely with their friends in the media, trust will be built in our media system.

Do you have tips and tricks for PR professionals that you want to share? Whether it be about pitching, media relations, podcasting or more, we’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop a comment on this interview with Seth on YouTube, which can be found here

You can also listen to this season of PRfect Pitch via Apple Podcasts, or your preferred podcast platform.