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Pitching for PR business

Pitching – don’t leave it to chance
Pitching – don’t leave it to chance

When I ask PR account managers what they write first when creating a public relations proposal, they often answer – page or slide one. And when prompted further, they often explain that the first part of the presentation will be taken up with the background to their offer.

This might work for a logical structured report – but if you are in a PR pitch situation, you need to make that first page or slide sell. 

Go beyond a concept and propose

When pitching for PR business, selling a concept is not enough. You have to drive further and sell the specific proposal that implements that concept. So, the first page to write is the proposal itself – what do you propose the buying client does with your creative idea, brave strategy or fast track solution.  What’s the action point?

Put the client into the story

A PR pitch should be told like any engaging story and too many powerpoint slides can get in the way.   Put the client at the centre of the proposal.  Use your own story telling skills and sell a picture of the dream that the client can achieve.  Specifics on the implementation/detail and benefits can then follow.

Sell the insight

Insight is good too – include any ‘killer’ insight you’ve uncovered in shaping your strategy.  Describe why the target audience(s) will be persuaded to respond in a way that the client wants. 

Five minutes is all you’ve got

Sitting through pitch after pitch can be tiring and you’ll lose your audience in the first few minutes if you don’t state the gist of your proposal upfront. Buyers need something that they can respond to, something that connects emotionally.  A good pitch grabs attention immediately and tells the client what they need to do next to solve the communication challenge or problem.

Show don’t tell

Clients are not just buying an idea, they are buying people.  When pitching for PR business decide how you can best showcase the PR team. Consider roles.  Plan how you can interract with eachother during the pitch. Consider how you can demonstrate good listening and communication skills to connect through rapport. Chemistry can make or break a pitch so don’t overlook it.

Discuss, discuss, discuss

Rather than presenting the idea as fait accompli, by plonking it on the client’s lap in the way that a dog fetches a ball – set aside 50 per cent of the pitch time for discussion.  A question and answer session is often overlooked, but provides a crucial opportunity to listen and respond to issues that may not be clear, explain rationale and back up your proposal.

Explain your ask

Many presentations have no ask of the client.  Instead, they make a big show of presenting the consultancy and team credentials, repeat the brief (often with very vague objectives) before laying out the detail.   Then the pitch team sit back and wait for questions.

If you’d like to find out more about my Strategic PR Planning course, then please do get in touch.

Picture courtesy of Stuart Miles

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