Major League PR Pitching Tips

The 2011 Major League Baseball Playoffs are under way. Which got us wondering about how the word “pitch” came to be a way to describe “selling a story idea” to an editor. To our surprise, it actually has a nautical origin – to spin a yarn. Read more here on The Phrase Finder (warning this site is a huge distraction and potentially addicting).

How to pitch to traditional (yes, paper) magazines and not strike out.

A four seam fast ball  – A fastball can’t rise unless it’s thrown underhand. But if you throw the fastball overhand with enough force, it will appear to rise because it’s not dropping as much as the batter’s brain thinks it should.

How to pitch it -Pitch the front of the book and editor pick’s section for fast new product mentions and placements. Remember, new is the operative word and long lead works three to six months out, so pitch ahead of time.

A three finger change up – A three-finger change up is a good off-speed pitch for those who do not have big hands (or well-known clients).

How to pitch it –Pitch for inclusion in feature (spreads) stories – to have your client, product or launch mentioned in a bigger feature among more established company. Pitch the bigger story and find two or three competitors for the writer to include in the feature. Remember it takes three to make a trend.

A palm ball – The palm ball (sometimes called a palm ball or four-finger change up) is one of two or three variations of the change up. It’s an off-speed pitch. Note: A palm ball is gripped by essentially choking the baseball deep in your hand and wrapping all of your fingers around the baseball. The deeper the grip, the more friction that is created on the ball, which takes off velocity.

How to pitch it –This is a pitch with a twist, perhaps it’s an exclusive, a “charticle”, an infograph or  a story designed to stand out from the rest of the page. And don’t forget, it could be crafted into a side bar story.

The curve ball – The arm action on this pitch is a little abbreviated at the end. Instead of getting a nice long arc of deceleration and finishing throwing elbow outside of your opposite knee (as with your fastball), you’ll want to bring your throwing-hand elbow to the opposite hip. This, of course, shortens your follow through, but allows you to really snap off the pitch.

How to pitch it –Maybe it’s a futuristic “trend story”, an emerging celebrity or artist interview or perhaps a controversial look at a hot topic,  remember, it’s a curve ball.

Pitches courtesy of The Complete Pitcher.

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