According to The Telegraph’s Travel Section, it took a matter of minutes, after the announcement of Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton, for the news editor to be flooded with company press releases linking (tenuously in many cases) their products to the couple. This is hardly a new idea for sending out releases (every World Cup for example; sees hundreds of company stories loosely based around the football tournament) and it illustrates how keen companies are to pitch stories and get coverage for their brand (you can see the story here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/8137941/Royal-wedding-PR-companies-take-advantage.html – our favourite was probably the Irish Ferries’ release).
To have some success with your pitching, whether it’s by using tenuous news to get coverage for your brand, or intense marketing to win business, or networking to find potential investors for your IPO, you have to get out there and shout to get your name heard and that’s what the best ‘sales’ people do.
With the economy still the key issue for the UK government, the recent trade mission to China was the largest ever, with the PM himself going, along with four other cabinet ministers and 43 business leaders (ranging from the CEO of Diageo to the Chairman of Barclays and the Chairman of Yell Group). The goal of the visit, according to Cameron, was to build a much stronger relationship with China and increase exports to help get Britain’s economy back in shape. However, as The Telegraph tells us “his achievements are lagging well behind the EU15 billion of trade deals secured by French President Nicolas Sarkozy last week”. Perhaps Cameron should have booked his flights 10 days earlier!
But it’s not only the French and British who are pitching abroad; President Obama has recently been in India, where according to The Economist; “”. This would certainly be a bit of welcome press for the President who seems to have faced a lot of pressure from various sides lately.
This all tells us there is no doubt we are in an increasingly competitive age where your pitch has to be; bigger, better, louder than the people who tried before you but preparation is also key to success. In our pitch training courses we teach delegates to play to their strengths and tailor their approach (this is vital) so that they are comfortable in their style and ensure they are offering a solution that their audience will actually want.
Of course winning over your audience can sometimes also take a little luck and persistence but whether it was exactly the coverage they wanted or not, there’s no denying that the above Prince William stories got them into The Telegraph. So could we really blame them for trying again for the next big (tenuously linked) event?
Will Edwards – www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk – November 2010