What would help you to pitch smarter — to better target your media list and pitch journalists the way they want to be pitched? How can you build stronger relationships with your media contacts when both you and they are juggling so many projects?
The creators of OnePitch have been hard at work on these very questions and have come up with a modern technology-based solution that helps PR pros pitch more effectively and build better relationships with writers and editors.
In this episode of That Solo Life: The Solo PR Pro Podcast, OnePitch co-founder and chief operations officer Jered Martin joined Karen and Michelle to talk about their groundbreaking PR tool — which he likens to “Match.com for PR pros” — as well as the company’s successful podcast, Coffee with a Journalist.
More than a media database
When Jered and his team first launched OnePitch in 2017, it was set up as a kind of “reverse HARO” where journalists could opt in to receive regular pitches. Unsurprisingly, this was a tough sell to busy journalists who already receive countless unsolicited pitches each day.
So in early 2020, the OnePitch team decided to try something new,
“We put ourselves into the mindset and into the seat of PR professionals and looked at all the various steps that they take when they're researching journalists, compiling media lists and then eventually doing the outreach,” Jered explains. “And we said, Alright, how can we package that up into one nice, neat little service?”
The result is an integrated PR tool that streamlines the process of researching, pitching and maintaining relationships with journalists.
Once PR pros sign up for the free tool, they tell OnePitch a little about their client, brand and pitch. Then the tool goes to work matching the info to millions of journalist data points to deliver a qualified media list specific to the pitch.
In addition to contact information and a list of recently published relevant articles, OnePitch also gives each contact a Pitch Score based on how relevant the pitch is to the writer’s work and an Activity Score that indicates how frequently the writer is publishing new content. Once the user has narrowed down the list using a set of tags and filters, they can format and send pitches and track the conversation right on the platform.
“We've seen a lot of folks sign up, and we've seen a lot of people come back and continuously use it,” Jered says.
A number of PR pros use the tool as a kind of extra check on the media list they may have compiled through a more traditional database. It’s a way to ensure they’ve included all the relevant contacts — and perhaps to discover a few new folks to pitch.
What journalists want — straight from the source
In addition to the platform, the team also produces a podcast called Coffee with a Journalist, hosted by OnePitch co-founder and CEO Beck Bamberger.
It was born from the understanding that media relations professionals are always trying to figure out how best to reach journalists and understand their preferences. Yet even extensive online research rarely yields more than a handful of headlines, tweets and a LinkedIn summary.
So Jered and Beck decided to sit down with some journalists — just 12 in the first season — to see if they could find out more. They were blown away by the response, and the second season of the podcast recently surpassed 75 episodes, including several dual episodes featuring two journalists from the same outlet.
“The podcast originated out of this need that wasn't being served for folks, a need to really understand and find out more about journalists,” Jered says. “We've found a lot of really cool details.”
The OnePitch team — which totals only eight people — took those details from the first 50 guests of the second season and compiled them into a State of Pitching report released earlier this year.
“We found some really interesting findings,” he says. “Subject lines are important to some, but not to everyone. We realized data is important to a lot of people — but for a very few it's not. We also realized that they just want to be pitched in a very direct and succinct way. They don't need a huge paragraph and a ton of info. But they also really pride themselves on relationships.”
Networking on Twitter
One takeaway from the report was that journalists prefer Twitter over other social networks when it comes to building relationships — and even receiving the occasional pitch. (Though email remains the #1 preferred avenue for pitches!)
Jered is also very active on Twitter and agrees that it’s a great place for PR pros to establish their personal brands and contribute to the communities that have formed there.
One tactic that has worked well for Jered is asking a weekly question on Twitter — it’s never geared toward promotion or OnePitch specifically but instead is aimed at provoking conversation among the community. Sometimes the team will turn the responses into blog content, but what Jered really loves to see is the participation.
“It's all very cool to see these PR pros from Ireland, England, India, the States and South America all chiming in but also learning from each other,” he says.
Jered thinks users could make better use of Twitter Lists to keep track of top media contacts, and he says not to be afraid to reach out.
“I've pitched journalists on Twitter, even cold,” he says. “And I've said to them, Hey, I wanted to reach out, but I can't find an email to reach you. Here's what I'm talking about. If you are interested, I'd be happy to follow up with more details. Nine times out of 10. They're like, Hey, I'm interested. Here's my email.”
Ultimately, whether you’re pitching on Twitter, by email or through the OnePitch platform, the advice is the same.
“It's important to be nimble, to be kind to people and respect their time,” Jered says. “But at the end of the day, if you don't ask, that opportunity could be missed.”
We want to hear from you! Have you tried OnePitch? Let us know in the comments or on social media using #solopr!