Public relations campaigns consist of many elements but before the magic can begin, a campaign must be “pitched” and given authority. However, the term “pitch” can be misleading – pitches aim to strike opponents out. In this sales environment, your “pitch” should instead aim for a homerun – a mutually beneficial relationship.
In pitching a business’ services, clients seek to be told a story, making pitching more of an art than a science. Here are some recommendations to getting that process started.
Research is essential to designing an authentic and targeted presentation when creating your pitch. Your team should have a clear idea of the client’s brand before beginning the design aspect of any visual aids: the client’s expectations of the partnership and what strengths and weaknesses your company can manipulate to the client’s benefit.
Knowing your client means analyzing social media strategies, corporate reputation and advertisement trends and strategies. Furthermore, learn about the client’s goals and missions: what are the values and standards the client holds itself to? These elements create the essence of the client and assist it in remaining on-brand and attracting the appropriate customers.
Every client is different; therefore, pitching is specialized to fit each brand’s image. From essential information, like location and target audience, to small details, like logo design and copywriting; connecting with your client requires an understanding of the company’s infrastructure.
A great way to get a grasp of the client is to visit their store beforehand. If the client is foreign or strictly online, visit the website or another online platform. This functions as the traditional brick-and-mortar storefront and should exhibit the personality and traits the client looks to show.
Pitching to online or foreign clients can be difficult, though. If used correctly, technology (like Zoom or Skype) can greatly improve your long-distance connection. When using online video platforms, mind the difference in etiquette – making eye contact with the camera and not the screen, maximizing the screen space while keeping the essential information centered and the technological aspects of the stream are functioning properly.
Introducing the team goes farther than reciting your names and positions, they create personal connections that drive long-lasting relationships. Though titles assist in labeling the office hierarchy, clients are unfamiliar and apathetic to this. Therefore, describe your abilities and the actions you will take to make the campaign a success.
Seek to involve all of your members in each step of the creative process. Though you each maintain a title and specific set of skills, adventure into the unknown and learn from each other. Introducing your clients to this “think tank” culture shows a diverse thought process that ensures the best results.
As you and your team are likely educated in the Communications field, familiar with strategic communications or have constructed elements of Communications strategies, remember that your clients have not. Do not forget your client is untrained, not inexperienced. The client is likely to have basic knowledge about these policies and have used them at some point in their business.
There is a fine line between being specific and being overcomplicated in a presentation. Confusing the client is the worst-case scenario and should be avoided.
Pitching is not the time to be modest. Flaunt your past work, employees and partnerships. Whether you have physical examples or visuals within your presentation, references are essential to confirm your legitimacy as an agency. Be proud of your past work by putting it on display, with the statistics to prove its effectiveness.
Richard Forbes is the 2019–2020 University of Florida PRSSA Chapter Treasurer and serves as a writer for Progressions on the Publications Committee. He is a senior studying public relations and event management at the University of Florida. Follow him on Twitter @Richard_Forbes_ and connect with him on LinkedIn.