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10 Tips for Dating…I Mean, Pitching

July 3rd, 2008

trendSpotting Report
Sharon Nieuwenhuis

As a media relations professional, I pitch all the time. I sell myself to sell the story built to deliver the messages my client needs his target audience to hear. Similar to say, ahem, dating. More analogous than you might think. You need proof?

1. Call, Baby: If you are going to pick up the phone and call, have something intelligent and interesting to say. Know a little about the person you are calling — with reporters be ready to reference a recent article; with a potential date it is always helpful to be aware of the win-loss record of their favorite team.

2. Do Not Make It All about You: Ask about what the reporter is writing (or what the date prospect is working on)…and better yet, what else they read. This will get you to interview (date) 2, rather than leaving you dead in the water after the first.

3. Know When to Walk Away: Recognize disingenuous Call me back later. Journalists, like those you date, will sometimes lie to let you down easy. Get your lie-dar going and always be straightforward with journalists (dates). They appreciate it.

4. Do Not Use Any Stupid Pick Up Lines: Have a point. Say it. Enough Said.

5. Do Not Filibuster: We have all sat across from the guy talking on and on and on….and on. That is the last thing a journalist wants to hear on the other end of the phone or during the lunch he took the time to have with your client. Deliver your message. Illustrate it. Move on to the next one. Repeat. (Dates like that too.)

6. Make That Date Already: Set up the interview and get off the phone. Never dillydally or think the strength of a relationship is measured by the number of minutes spent on the phone. You both know why you are talking — in both cases.

7. Be Considerate: Never — ever — call during deadline or when the date is in the shower. Or at 5:00 on Friday. Or in the middle of the night (datewise). Offer to have your client do the interview over the weekend if it helps the journo out. Be flexible with both parties!

8. Do Not Compromise Integrity: If the story does not fit (or if you could never see yourself with this guy for more than a couple of shoddy minutes), do not try to make it work. Walk away and look for the better fit now.

9. Make A Lasting Impression: Position your client appropriately and personalize your story angle. Talking about the CEO as the CEO is not going to get you anywhere. Use first names. With dates, use nicknames. Uh-huh.

10. Show Intelligence: Nobody likes an idiot. I have said what everyone is thinking.

RLM Account Manager Sharon Nieuwenhuis admits she has no idea what the heck she is talking about concerning dating, but the pitching advice is legitimate.