Pitching Shades of Grey

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The phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey is sweeping the nation – nay, the world. We’ll admit it…we’re not immune to the buzz. We love buzz! Buzz is what we do. So buckle up, strap in and come up with a third innuendo for this sentence, because we’re sharing the five things Christian Grey taught us about media relations. 1. Be clear and keep a cool head.

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When pitching, be clear about the story, and provide all the top line information right off the bat. Also, don’t get overly excited when a reporter expresses interest – it could scare off your target, and the opportunity could finish prematurely.

2. Subject headings are vital. 

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In the book, Ana and Christian talk a lot via e-mail and their phones (enterprise mobile collaboration, or sexting?). They keep those subject headings interesting. That’s something to keep in mind when pitching a reporter who’s already sifting through hundreds of emails with stale subject headings.

Also, cool it with the ellipses, guys. Don’t start a sentence in the subject field and finish in the body – the body of the e-mail! Get your minds out of the gutter.

3. Mutual satisfaction. (What's in it for them?)

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Sure your client gets coverage, but what’s in it for the writer? Pitch a story that will lend itself to the larger scope of your media target’s work. That way, both parties come away satisfied.

4. Do your research. 

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As the head of a giant corporation – or whatever the heck his job is – Christian needs to always be in the know. He takes it a bit far when he finds out Ana’s email address, place of work and life history without permission – but hey, the guy’s got balls – and not the kind your thinking of.

This should go without saying, but you must research your targets before pitching. Understand their coverage areas, and read as much of their material as you can. Reporters can smell a cookie cutter pitch from a mile away.

5. Tie up loose ends. 

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We know it’s a bit obvious, but humor us – you’re still reading this thing after all. What we’re talking about here is closing the loop. Always follow up to thank the reporter and provide any additional materials – but don’t go overboard. One email is usually plenty.

Whether you choose to see the movie, or lie and say you didn’t, we won’t judge you. You can just tell everyone you were doing research on pitching!