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Friday, May 6, 2011

For PR professionals, life is a pitch

And that's why public relations execs (and journalists) will want to read a New York Times columnist's views on what makes a perfect pitch. According to David Pogue, whose recent column about "pitching" is one of the most popular ever on the PR Daily blog, the first job is getting your message across. Which is not easy because this is a business where "50 pitches a day land in journalists’ in-boxes". So how does yours stand out? Pogue gives us a few pointers while handing out his Perfect Pitch Awards:

In my 10 years at The New York Times, I’ve seen a universe of different PR pitches and met an endless range of PR people. Sometimes it’s clear that they love their jobs and believe in the products they represent. Sometimes, it’s clear that they don’t. Sometimes, it’s clear that they have no idea what they’re doing.

On the other hand, sometimes the pitches are so wonderful, so delightful, you can’t resist. Here are this year’s winners of the Pogue Perfect Pitch award — pitches so clever, so persuasive, I’m going to wind up reviewing both of the products they’re pitching.

First, a YouTube video made by the employees of a company called CodeWeavers. They have a new program called CrossOver Impersonator that lets you run certain Windows programs on a Mac — without having to own a copy of Windows. 

Pogue then gives us details of this pitch. And, afterwards, moves on to the next award:

The second Pogue Perfect Pitch award goes to Nikon. See, in my blog, I’d written a review of the Canon S95 in the form of a love letter. (“Dear Canon S95, I don’t often write love letters to gadgets. But you — you’re something special. Truth is, I’ve been searching for someone like you for years…”) To my surprise, I received a response “from” the Nikon D80, the first camera I ever really loved in print, a couple of years ago.

If you're a PR professional, read up on these two pitches to get an insight into how some innovative thinking (and writing) can help you get your client into the newspapers. You may also like to read a young PR pro's comments on David Pogue's column: "Perfect PR pitches: New York Times tech columnist picks his favorites".

  • Thanks to Commitscion Nilofer D'Souza (Class of 2009) for alerting me to David Pogue's column.
  • ADDITIONAL READING: "Don't Just Give the Media a 'Press Release' Give Them a Story" and many more tips from a PR professional who is writing from a business owner's perspective but whose advice is very relevant to PR practitioners, too. Check out Christopher Lee Nutter's column on Huffington Post here: "The 10 Commandments to Perfect PR for Your Business".