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 fourth guest was Jonathan Small, an award-winning journalist, producer, and host of several podcasts including Write About Now where he talks to other successful writers. He also is the founder of Strike Fire Productions, a full-service podcast production and consulting firm. 

Nicole and Jonathan talked about his journey from the magazine world to podcasting, tips on staying agile in an ever changing world, and more.  Here are a few takeaways:

Follow Your Own Skills

If you’ve already listened to this interview, you learned that Small actually helped Nicole ghostwrite her book, Beverly Hills Boss. As writing has always been a passion for him, he’s been able to take his skills and apply them to various industries in his career. 

It’s important to note that every job will offer transferable skills that you can take with you into another opportunity. If you’re an accountant or a lawyer and decide to switch careers, you will have learned many lessons and skills that will be valuable in another industry.

“You work for so long that it becomes who you are, but your skills go so much deeper than that,” Small said. As long as the foundational skills are there, it’ll help you later on in life and don’t underestimate the lessons you can take with you throughout your career.

There’s an Art to Podcasting

When someone wants to start a podcast, Small always gives them the same piece of advice he gives to people who want to write a book. “First you need to read a book and then you can write a book.”  The same goes for podcasting. 

Jonathan has encountered many people who said they wanted to start a podcast, but haven’t actually listened to one before. In order to be good at something, you need to study it first. 

Here are a couple of things you should know and do if you want to begin podcasting:

  • You should know what the medium is and how it works.
  • You should also listen to some of your favorite podcasts to see what people are doing and emulate them until you find what works best for you.

Podcasts are creative outlets. Do your own thing, interview friends, and take a little time before actually releasing it, so that you have an idea of what you like. 

Another piece of advice that Jonathan gives is to drop the first three episodes at once. The beginning of your podcast’s life is important for the algorithm it makes. It takes time for people to discover your podcast, so be patient.

You should also know that the number of listeners you recieve are of more quality than the number of views you have on a video.

Personalize Your Pitch

A common theme that we hear in these interviews is that journalists want to see personalized pitches. Small said it’s very obvious when he receives a pitch that’s been sent to many other people and when this is the case, he automatically deletes the email.

Small said one sign someone hasn’t done their homework is beginning a pitch with “Dear Editor.” Why? Because with a simple search, you’d be able to see that Jonathan, for example, is the main editor at Green Entrepreneur Magazine

In Small’s mind, and likely most journalists’, if a PR professional didn’t research you or the publication to begin with, why should they take the time to read your pitch? 

Mysterious Headlines Gain More Traction

People love mysteries. Not only in movies, but also in writing and books as well. This is why headlines are so important.

Not only does a mysterious headline make a story more clickable, but it also looks at the content from a different perspective. 

For example, instead of writing something about “the four things you should do for entrepreneurship to be successful,” write a headline along the lines of “the four things you should always avoid if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.” A story like this almost has a negative connotation, but it’ll pique people’s interest. 

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 Jonathan 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.