Wednesday, February 16, 2011
5 Reasons it Pays to Pitch the Competition
When I suggest pitching your competitors, you might think I'm talking about pitching them overboard.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but including information on your competitors when you pitch your company/client to the media can be a best practice.
Here are at least five reasons:
1. They will look at your competitors anyhow
Any journalist worth his or her salt is going to dig around to see what other company, venue or event is similar to yours. Save them the time while also putting your competition in context. [TIP: Never say anything distasteful or disparaging about your competition.]
2. You need other examples to show a trend
Trends are newsworthy--they're current and topical, but one company's experience is not evidence of a trend. Go ahead and share data in your pitch like market growth statistics or scientific research to substantiate a trend, but also share examples of other companies or events that prove out your point. If the reporter does the story, typically he or she will lead with your client/company as the primary example. [TIP: It takes three exampeles to support a trend.]
3. Profiles are the exception, not the rule
Journalists occasionally profile companies and leaders, but typically that is a once per publication opportunity, and even in a profile of a successful company or CEO, you'll see the reporter cite examples of similar companies or the experiences of similar executives. If you don't have a stand-out product, service, event or leader to submit for a profile, try positioning your story in terms of trends in your industry (see #2) and seek to be the lead example. [TIP: This is particularly effective in more mature industries or with products or services that are viewed as commodities like financial services.]
4. It enhances your credibility
When journalists see that you've included competitor information in a pitch, the very fact that you acknowledged other companies builds your credibility and shows you understand the information they need to do their job.
5. It works
When I have used this technique, I've had journalists respond telling me how much they appreciated it. Plus, it has produced coverage, and each time, the coverage focused on my client, and the effort and extra work paid off.
It's not always the answer but can be an effective technique when needed.