By Cassie Lenski, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at 11:04 am.
It is a big stepping-stone in a PR student’s career when a reporter picks up your first pitch. I will never forget the feeling I had when the One Young House press release ended up on Bulldog Reporter online. While media monitoring last Wednesday, I saw the release and ran around the office with a goofy grin telling everyone who would listen about the hit—not one of my more professional moments. But it was important to me because it was the first time I actually felt like a PR professional. Every journalist is looking for something different and can be very picky about the style or format in which newsworthy material is presented. For me, the most difficult thing to grasp is how to get to the point in my writing. I have always had a tendency to begin with elaborate introductions and use descriptive visuals, but public relations writing is all about getting the news out as quickly and effectively as possible.
The best format for a pitch is to give a brief overview of what the press release is about. Simply follow the five W’s that you learned in elementary school: who, what, when, where and why. This is the easiest way to be clear and concise and to make sure the most newsworthy material appears in the first sentence.
My favorite part (and also a very important aspect) of pitching is coming up with an eye-catching title. Most press releases to journalists immediately end up in the trashcan (either real or virtual). It is extremely important to have a headline that makes the reader want to learn more.
Seeing my press release in a top PR news publication made me feel that this career is exactly what I am meant to be doing.