What Selling Girl Scout Cookies Taught Me About Media Pitching
- Posted by Monica Smith
- On January 24, 2019
- Girls Scouts, media relations, pitching, pitching media, PR, PR tactics, PRecision Curriculum, public relations
I remember it like it was yesterday: I was 7 years old and ready to serve my “client base” by stocking their pantries with Thin Mints and my personal favorite, Peanut Butter Sandwiches (now more creatively named Do-si-dos). My mother, a sales pro herself, prepped me well: She instructed me not to ask if my prospective customers wanted to buy cookies but rather to clearly express my intent. “Would you please buy some Girl Scout Cookies?” she repeated to me before ringing a neighbor’s doorbell.
It’s a classic sales technique – ask for the sale, the work, the result – and in our case as PR practitioners, the media coverage.
When we approach reporters, it’s our job to clearly lay out the “who, what, where, when, why and how” of the given topic. But, it’s equally important to make our request clear: We want you to write this story, and here’s why you should want to write it.
It’s why we use our effective Pitch Development Worksheet and focus so intently on media pitching in our PRecision Curriculum sessions. We practice pitching with each other – before one of our PR team members makes a call to a reporter, he or she can be heard in the office rehearsing the sales pitch with a colleague. We also introduce the concept of “For Every Issue, We Map an Action” to make sure that an amazing pitch is just part of the cycle. Following up with reporters, tracking placements and sharing results with our clients are all key steps in the process.
(My favorite PRecision Curriculum class, by the way, is when one of our former newsroom leaders breaks out multiple personalities to challenge our interns on why he should take a story on GDPR compliance or another meaty legal topic.)
What are you selling? Legal services? Compliance solutions? Yourself for a new job? No matter the scenario, be sure to ask for the work.
And most importantly, during this Girl Scout cookie season, support a future leader and buy some cookies. You’re helping to teach valuable lessons that will take her far in life.
Monica Smith is president of Poston Communications.