Many of use are on the brink of graduating from the Cronkite School with the inevitable goal to obtain a job in the glorious field of public relations that we have all grown accustomed to. As we say goodbye to Cronkite and walk out into the real world where we get to practice what we learned for four years, the real question is what is one of the most valuable tools in order to be a successful public relations professional?… and my answer is it’s all about the pitch.
One of the ultimate goals as PR professionals is to gain publicity for our client, whomever they may be. In order to do this we must solidify the practice of making a good pitch. The only problem is sometimes we will have a client with not so newsworthy material that they would like us to get covered. This is where the pitch becomes tricky because you want to stand out from other press releases that are being sent to a reporter on a given day. Richard Laermar from Bad Pitch Blog introduced a concept that PR professionals should avoid known as “vapor” when it comes to pitch attempts. Basically “vapor” is sending out non-stories, which is a practice that I am sure we will all have to endure at some point in our careers.
I agree with Laermar in the fact that sending out “vaporous” press releases can be detrimental to your role in the public relations arena. Reporters want stories that they can work with and not something that is going to waste their time. If you send out these non-stories all the time you will gain a reputation with reporters and they will eventually shy away from your pointless content even if you have a really good story that should be covered.
So when that time comes when you start to send out your emails to numerous reporters hoping to get one bite on your content, it is important to remember if what you are pitching is truly worth it or just worth it because you invested your time in it. Laermar offers the advice to not send out press release lacking substance stating,” til you have something worthier of the presses; in other words, don’t believe your own story too much.
So that question I raise is do you agree that non-story press releases could ultimately hurt you and the work you’re trying to do for you client? Or do you think that even if the story does not really have potential we as PR professionals should do everything in our power to try and get publicity for our client?