“Play Ball”: The Thumbs-Down Pitch

In baseball, a changeup is thrown so it looks like a fastball but takes its time arriving at the plate. The media relations’ version is called the thumbs-down. The thumbs-down pitch involves sending an event-announcement media release less than two weeks before the event.

A prospective client called, asking if I could publicize a business association’s dinner program.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout for our speaker,” she said. “Can you help us?”

“Certainly,” I replied. “When is your event?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Then you should have called me three months ago.”

This business association was shut out of program publicity because of failure to understand the nature and timing of news. Hard news consists of non-routine stories or
events reported immediately. For example, an earthquake occurring during the night is reported immediately on radio, television and the Internet; newspapers will report the news in the morning edition. Soft news consists of routine stories or events reported as time or space permits. A business association’s dinner program is soft news, which must be pitched at least four to six weeks before the event.

Ideally, I prefer a three-month lead-time for pitching a client’s event. That time frame
allows me to submit the event to all business and community calendars, yielding maximum exposure and frequency for the news. Then two weeks before the event I
reach out to key reporters with personal pitches for feature-story coverage of
the program topic or the speaker.

Blogger  Bio: Pauline Bartel, M.A., is President and Chief Creative Officer of
Bartel Communications, Inc., an award-winning corporate communications firm,
specializing in marketing, public relations and business anniversary consulting
services. The firm  created “The Bartel Years™” and “The Bartel Years 200™,” rosters of business  anniversary symbols to inspire two centuries of business anniversary
“sell”-abrations. Download free copies of “The Bartel Years™” and the special
report “The Top 10 Business Anniversary Ideas for SELL-abrating Your Business
Anniversary” at www.paulinebartel.com.

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