Are You Thinking of Your Customers When You Pitch?

By Jack Holt, Mattr CEO

Sales are a big part of my everyday job, and since my company sells predominantly to marketers, I talk to people that fill many different marketing roles. Of all the different types of marketers, though, PR people have really stood out to me. They have a difficult job. Given their focus on media relations, they have additional audiences that they have to consider every single day beyond the people they’re selling products or services to. While other types of marketers are able to concentrate on only the customer, PR people have to think more broadly when writing a pitch.

A PR person should consider the journalist, the customer, and the publication audience when writing a pitch.

The graphic to the left illustrates the three audiences a PR person should consider when writing a pitch. However, as I’ve talked to many PR people, I’ve noticed that not all actually focus on all three of those audiences. In many instances, they spend most of their time focused on a journalist and/or a publication’s readers and largely neglect the customers they’re actually trying to reach through media.

How do you decide who to pitch? Does that decision involve qualitative data about the customers you’re trying to reach? If not, you might be missing something valuable that could improve your pitches – and the stories that ultimately result from those pitches.

How much do you know about the customers of the product or service you’re pitching? Many people in the industry have told me they think they have a solid grasp of the customers because of the years they’ve spent interacting with journalists. But when I ask them more about their customer targets, and especially when I question their personality details, they realize that aside from some anecdotal evidence they hear, many don’t have as good of a grasp of those customers as they thought. When they see a thorough customer segmentation analysis, it can be very revealing. Sometimes they even discover that the publications or blogs they assumed customers were reading aren’t at all what they actually read.

Most in the PR industry that I’ve talked with say that audience targeting and segmentation is something they’ve never thought to do before, but is something that could be very valuable to them. It can tell them not only which publications their customers read, but which publications are over-indexed with their customers. In other words, it reveals those publications their customers read at a disproportionate rate. Very important when deciding who to pitch.

But let’s go a step beyond the the pitch audience and focus on the actual pitch content sent to a reporter. What do those pitches usually contain? Information on the product or service you’re pitching? Maybe something that shows the reporter you know and understand what’s interesting to them?

How often do they accurately reflect the customer you’re trying to reach? I’m not referring only to customer challenges your company can help them solve; I’m talking about who these people really are – their personalities, their interests, and their values.

Process for the perfect PR pitch.Think about this process for a pitch:

Look at step two. After determining the appropriate publications to target in step 1 (based on consideration of your customers, the journalist and the publication’s readers) step 2 takes into consideration qualitative information on those people.

Targeting and segmentation can provide signals or indications of the people you’re trying to reach – who they really are as people. That information can help you make subtle changes to a pitch to appeal not just to the reporter, but to tell a story that you know will appeal to the customers and potential customers you’re actually trying to target. If you know your audience is more liberal, more tech savvy or more environmentally conscious than the average person, shouldn’t your pitch content resonate with their motivations and their values? And wouldn’t the reporter you’re pitching be interested in knowing that as well?

Utilizing targeting and segmentation can help PR people become better acquainted with who their customers are as people, and in turn, get more targeted and insightful with their pitching. Remember, when targeting a publication, think about the customer, journalist and readers. And when writing the pitch, consider the personality, values and interests of those groups of people.

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