Pitching? Consider pop culture

I was reading through my PRSA Issues & Trends e-mail the other day, and a featured story caught my eye: “How Dwight Schrute Helped Me Place a Story in TIME.” As an avid fan of “The Office” and a person who finds Dwight’s character to be hilarious, I clicked on the link and read the story on PRSA’s ComPRehension blog.

So how did Dwight Schrute help Michael Smart land some great placements, including a spot in TIME? The same way his headline enticed me to read his post. Smart had been working with a professor who was researching the pros and cons of working with people she called “‘socially distinct newcomers.'” “That’s a perfect, precise description of what she studied…[b]ut it’s obviously not very familiar language that would be useful in a pitch e-mail subject line or in the lead of a news release,” Smart explained.

His solution was to come up with a way of expressing the concept concisely. He made the connection between Dwight Schrute and “socially distinct newcomers,” and used it in his e-mail subject line and to help explain the study. His creativity landed him great coverage, including the placement in TIME he mentioned in his headline.

Smart identified two key takeaways from this successful media relations effort:

  1. “Ruthlessly trim your pitches to make them as short as possible,” he said.
  2. “Consider an image or concept made familiar through pop culture to make your pitch stand out,” he advised.

This case study definitely left a lasting impression on me!

You can read Smart’s press release by clicking here.

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