While DJ Khaled’s snapchat fame may be waning...this statement still rings true.
The English language has a quarter of a million distinct words, providing those of us in the communications industry with a prodigious arsenal of ways to, well, communicate.
Despite this fact, Public Relations professionals may fall into tired patterns, repurposing old pitches to get new points across. While it’s rarely advisable to “reinvent the wheel,” we should remember that a pitch is intended to tell a story! As such, careful diction is as important in a pitch as it is in a front page feature. PR pros should keep the below tips in mind to ensure that pitches are well-received, and the client is always illustrated in the best light.
If you can say it in five words, don’t use nine. Some of us use flowery language, auxiliary adjectives, multiple transitions, and excess fillers to appear smarter or enhance an argument. You don’t need it! The proof is in that very sentence. Be warned: write a lengthy pitch and lose the reporter’s attention.
All day long we use dull words and pointless business jargon. You know the ones: great, upshot, low-hanging fruit, bandwidth, touch-base, move the needle and so on. In pitches phrases like “I’d like to offer you…,” “following up on” and “expert sources” crop of often. Come up with engaging way to get your message across. If you have an expert to offer, illustrate his or her expertise rather than just stating so.
Subject Line Shine
This is your time to shine. Even if you consistently send well-crafted, engaging emails, if the recipient doesn’t feel compelled to open the email it’s might as well not even exist. A great subject line is the previews before a feature film (i.e. the best part). Don’t be afraid to mix it up and be a little quirky. Though subtle, “New Product Offering Will Revolutionize Education Technology” sounds decidedly less compelling than “Robotic Playmates Help Students with Learning Disabilities.” Always write your subject line first, rather than adding it as an afterthought.
If the above plea didn’t rouse you to craft deliberate and creative pitches, a little inspiration from Academy Award winning screenplay writer, Robert Pirosh should. Robert was a copywriter when he quit to follow his dream of becoming a screenwriter. Through clever use of his cover letter and favorite words, Robert charmed his way into three interviews and subsequent job as a junior writer at MGM…the rest is history.
Just because Steve Jobs made it possible for anyone to fire off 100 emails from the subway platform, doesn’t mean we should. Here’s to bringing some letter writing finesse back into email!