After a historic and nail-biting World Series victory by the Washington Nationals, I can’t help but think that public relations is a lot like baseball. In baseball, a player wants to strike out their opponent with the perfect pitch, ultimately winning them the game.

PR pros are also all-star “pitchers,” focused on getting media placements even when faced with heavy competition. If your pitches aren’t quite right, you must recalibrate and reposition yourself for success. Your pitches will stand out if you keep your eye on the ball, practice a lot and analyze to get ahead of your competition.

Follow these tips that to learn how to make your pitch a winning one:

Be concise and engaging

PR pros need to establish a “game plan” to answer The Five W’s (Who, What, When, Where and Why) without over-fluffing. Use an engaging headline to capture the writer’s attention and include links when necessary to offer additional information about your topic.

Highlight the value

PR pros need to “dig deep into the pitcher’s mound” to understand why their audience would be interested in a pitched story. Pursue all possible angles and think on a larger scale about why this topic is newsworthy. You can also include a call-to-action and offer an interview or exclusive, so the writer knows how to proceed if they are interested.

Do your homework

Just like baseball, a PR pro must know who they are up against before making the first pitch. Show that you are familiar with the writer’s work by researching what topics they currently cover. This allows you to analyze whether your pitch would be relevant or of interest to the writer and their audience.

Make it personal

Now that you have committed time to research, let the writer know why you are reaching out to them specifically. This is a great time to reference what they have published or previous projects that you worked on together. Social media also provides an easy way to lay the groundwork and stay on their radar. If you engage with a writer online or in person, it increases the chance of your name being recognized when your pitch comes through their crowded inbox.

Make your pitches timely

Avoid getting “fouled out” and tossed from the inbox to the trash bin by answering the question, ‘why now?’ Timeliness is one of our most important tools. Take advantage of awareness months, holidays and seasonal offerings for a timely hook. You can get ahead of the “ball” by piggybacking on current news or stories to promote your topic. However, you need to act fast because PR pros have a small window of time before pitches become dated.

Utilize your resources

Monitor media opportunities daily using tools designed for PR pros and journalists such as HARO, Cision and ProfNet. Another useful tool can be magazines’ editorial calendars, which map out their coverage for the year. PR pros can use these calendars as a resource to plan their yearly PR strategy and pitch relevant stories to these outlets ahead of time. 

With these helpful tips, you’ll surely stand out among the rest. Now, let’s get pitching!