Every now and then, it’s fun to take a break from pitch bloopers and faux pax to showcase something THAT WORKED.
Sent to us from the corporate side of the fence, this pitch landed a very, very nice product review placement on CNET, also winning the coveted Editors’ Choice product award for December 2013.
This came from Kevin Raposo, who handles PR and outreach for SimpliSafe Home Security. Here’s what he did:
“You’re probably super busy, so I’ll keep this short. My name is Kevin from SimpliSafe. We developed a technology that makes security systems completely affordable and really simple — it’s some pretty cool technology you (and your readers) might be interested in.
We’re at simplisafe.com, and I have a sample I’d like to send your way to checkout or review if you’d be interested. Let me know!
Kevin Raposo, SimpliSafe
A pretty simple pitch, right? It doesn’t even include product detail… just a brief teaser. Who’d think that would work? But that little pitch isn’t the entire story…
When you look at the reporter’s bio, the product fits right in with his interests and his beat. That particular reporter covers the home appliance product review column, which is an ideal fit for a portable home security product. Not only that, but this was just one step in the process – not the entire conversation.
Tweets and emails rounded out the dialog, revealing the pitch clearly wasn’t the first time Kevin reached out to the reporter, since the product was already on the reporter’s radar. Who knows, perhaps some of Kevin’s other PR efforts even helped bring the product to the reporter’s attention.
Kevin added, “The whole time gap that I didn’t hear from him, I was still commenting on articles, retweeting his articles, etc. Bear in mind, I was not doing this to get him to review the system. I was doing this because I actually cared about what he was writing about. This goes a long way. If you’re not passionate about what you’re pitching, then you’ll yield poor results.”
Pretty sweet, right? It still sends quite a bit of business their way six months later. Great job, Kevin, great job!
On a side note, I have to mention the reporter did a great job writing up a well-written, fair review supported with ample opinion to keep it interesting!
It’s important to note that engagement helps land a pitch, but product reviews are the opinion of the reporter – good or bad – and not always what the manufacturer wants to hear… I’d consider any negative opinions extremely seriously and, if it were my client, urge the manufacturer strongly to modify or improve the product based on those opinions. For this SimpliSafe review, I completely agree with the reporter that the module design is holding success of the product back.
A great example of a similar situation is this Ooma VoIP device before and after. Much, much better!! It went from clunky old school to sleek and sexy, and I’m sure their sales improved substantially because of their investment.
WHY IT WORKED
Q. Why do you think this pitch was successful?
A. The pitch was successful in my opinion because I kept the email short, to the point, and didn’t waste any of the journalists time. I left the offer on the table, if he was interested, he would get back to me.
(My input: I think the pitch would have been strengthened by a single sentence describing what the product was – giving the reporter a little more detail would have validated a connection between the type of product and the reporter’s beat, so it resonated. Without other conversations around it, I doubt this pitch would work on a stand-alone basis.)
Q. Can you share a few best practices you follow when pitching?
A. The one thing you want to do before pitching someone is do a little research. Get on their radar, follow them on Twitter, leave a comment – anything to make you actually seem like a real person as opposed to a PR person who has to send 100 emails a day.
(It is SO important to become part of their community before pitching!)
Anytime I pitch, I try to keep the email under 300 words; the less the better. Journalists get TONS of emails a day, so they appreciate a short email.
(Some pitches can be even shorter, at around 100 words, yet still get the point across. The shorter the better!)
Try sending out a feeler on Twitter. Interact with a couple of their tweets so they see your name in their mentions and your name is familiar. This helps a lot when they see that email from you. Also, don’t be afraid to mention that you interacted with them on Twitter.
Follow up: This is very important. When done right, it can land you some serious placements. Do it wrong and you’ll be blacklisted. My rule of thumb is one follow up email a week after your original pitch. Then another. THAT’S IT!
(I like to follow-up only once – then I’ll send a different pitch.)
So, what do you think? Comment below with your thoughts on Kevin’s pitch or best practices you’d like to share. Let’s keep learning together!
REMINDER: I need good and bad pitches to showcase! If are a journalist with one to share, email it to me at morgan (at) rockthestatusquo (dot) com. I’d appreciate it! All bad pitches have identifiers removed. #noshaming