PR Insights: What To Pitch The Press

by Doktor Spinn on 2022-02-16 · View Comments

This will probably upset some people, but I’m writing it anyway:

There’s a secret to pitching the press that seldom gets talked about. Most public PR advice focus in on newsworthiness, uniqueness, and differentiation. These factors works to some extent for sure, but they are seldom enough. Not for proper spin. This is because there isn’t editorial space for everything that qualifies as news to each and every one of us. Hence the importance of social media, right?

So therefore, when thinking about what to pitch the press, go for THE CONFLICT.

Your company launching a new business area or service is generally boring. Stepping into your competitors area is not. Of course, companies like Google might seem like exceptions, but the conflict here’s oh my, they are getting big, isn’t this becoming a bit creepy?

Hiring people is seldom interesting. Unless you snatch talent from somewhere, or if you are hiring in an area where jobs are scarce. Voilà, conflict. Selling a new line of products online only gets interesting as long as you can show that those who are selling the same products offline are losing their customers.

It’s basic storytelling, really. If you want to pitch a winner, there must be a loser. For every hero there must be a villain. And for every supersmart business venture there must be thousands of businesses that are getting it wrong. Stories without the element of conflict are often times boring stories. There is no risk in it for our hero, no adventure, no nerve.

I didn’t invent this media logic mechanism, neither did the journalists. But it’s the way of things, I guess.

But remember, you don’t necessarily have to point fingers. As long as there’s a conflict, the journalist will figure it out. They are extremely smart about these things—they are in fact trained to find it. But however outspoken or not, the conflict must be there, lurking around in the shadows somewhere. Without it, chances are your pitch is toast.

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  • Markus Welin

    But if you upset some people with this post, you got - wait for it - conflict! ;) #win

  • Doktor Spinn

    I actually didn’t think of that. I guess I got PR hardwired into my brain at this point. Working 8am-10pm is quite common these days, and when I get home, I comment my Reader notoriously, scavenging for PR posts and then—some PR blogging. I must have a screw loose or something. Well, well.

  • Anonymous

    Who’d be upsed by this? This is basic and the first thing I use to start with after defining what has actually happend and what our main message should be. How do we come out of this as the good guys? The good thing with this approach is that everybody understands it.

  • Markus Welin

    I can imagine. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I wish I got the same energy to put into my blog as you got, and I work pretty normal hours. You’re doing an amazing job!

  • Doktor Spinn

    Most clients don’t like the conflict approach. They want to be the heroes, for sure, but they hesitate about letting the axe fall on somebody. Being brave talking to the press is all about going out there, calling for justice and knowing that some people will be upset, not only the ones who are jealous of your success. That’s the bravery part in storytelling I would say, knowing your actions will have bloody consequences but going through with it anyway.

  • Doktor Spinn

    Thanks man! :)

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