Blog Archives

Great pitch leads to media hit

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Within hours of last week’s Lowdown announcing Brett’s return to radio we received this snappy pitch which had the right tone, topic and timing. New shows, in any medium, are more open to suggestion.  And this positive, pithy pitch fills the quirk quotient. Kudos Lisa.

Dear Brett,

I see from your latest Hootville newsletter that you are looking for quirky stories to fill your latest radio spot. Well, do I have something for you?!

Wyndham City Council’s arts program is running a 3-month artist residency and currently looking for expressions of interest.

Big whoop? So what?

Well, the twist is that the residency will be based at the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee. Yes, the ‘sewerage farm’ for those playing at home. And why? Well, the plant’s wetlands location is actually an important habitat for thousands of bird species and some of Victoria’s most endangered animals, so we think it’s kind of important to tell the world about how critical this space is to our natural ecosystem.

By producing beautiful art inspired by the plant, and displaying it at a special exhibition, the people of Melbourne can see just how important the plant and its surrounds are.

Please see more details attached and let me know if you would like any more information at all. Our Arts Curator, Megan Evans would be more than happy to have a chat if you’d like to pursue this for your listeners.


Lisa Fairweather   |    Public Relations Adviser  |   Communications & Events

PR tip: 97.9% of journalists lie about influence of PR

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Oh dear- pride is an awful thing. It makes people tell fibs as this recent survey of journalists reported in The Sell-In so ably displays.

pr tips for publicists

Our finding? 97.9% bollocks.

The question: Have you ever been talked into reporting something that you has decided to ignore following a call from a PR person?”

Guess what? 97.9% of journalists said NO. Well that would be that then, for publicists everywhere. Put down the phone and wait to be summoned. Happily that ain’t how it works. Follow-up calls can and do work, every day.

Journalists will tell you: “If I am interested I’ll get back to you.” but journalists are busy people – they forget, other priorities take over, they deal with what is right in front of them at a moment in time.

Brett knows this from experience – he was a busy journalist himself once upon a time.

In all our time as publicists Hootville got exactly zero calls from journalists telling us that after due consideration they had decided not to do a story we pitched them. This is despite 1000 media hits over a decade or so. Of those 1000 hits maybe 300 would not have happened without a follow-up call.

Extra calls do get results for publicists, even if that result is a definite NO. A definite refusal allows you to move on to the next victim. And even a brief phone call allows you to understand the journalist better for the next pitch.

Journalists will always tell you that PR people are nothing but a nuisance; at best a means to information but never – never – the source of a great story but we are – all the time.

Otherwise there’d be no fashion, real estate, food, entertainment, TV, movie and showbiz reviews or celebrity coverage. No interviews with authors, actors, singers. Have we got to half of all media coverage as yet? Let’s say 30%.

Throw in those big serious interviews with overseas politicians, public figures, corporate honchos and thought leaders. Getting closer to half way. Add the “exclusives” that litter television news (“be the first to see details of the new rail line / highway / stadium.”) Now we’re at 50%.

Most sport coverage outside game time is PR-driven as is anything involving a media conference or photo call –  and that means most police and crime reporting. And most big leaks are leaked directly from publicists. That’s close to 6o%.

95% of big social issue stories – that’s what we all push – are entirely PR driven. Equally so for scientific and technology stories.

Don’t let the journalists’ party line dull your desire to make a call and a follow-up. Calls – more than emails and on a par with tweets – get results. Nobody ever says they are influenced by advertising either – but that ain’t true neither.

Tips for getting a successful pitch:

  • Have a well-developed story idea.
  • Sell the talent.
  • Select a relevant journalist and outlet.
  • Pitch well – be succint, down-to-earth, pragmatic. Do not be dumb, ditzy or boring.
  • Never, ever start with: “Just calling to see if you got my email…”

More on the art of pitching stories to media here. And if you pitch but once a year this is a MUST read.

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