Pleasantly Persistent PR Blog
How to Pitch During COVID
October 27, 2020
Even during the upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing shutdown, the 24/7 news cycle continues to churn. Media outlets remain on the lookout for new, compelling content and qualified, engaging guests to provide expert analysis.

There are a host of challenges in pitching during COVID and landing a coveted media interview. Many producers and news people are overwhelmed by changes to their jobs. Seasoned PR professionals like myself are digging deep to find pitch angles that are pandemic appropriate. Below I review the difficulties in pitching during COVID, and then offer solutions on how to pitch during COVID.
The Challenges of Pitching During COVID
The obvious challenge in pitching during COVID is that the news is COVID saturated. Unless your story clearly aligns with the pandemic and related shutdown, it can be hard to get attention.

Additionally, many media personnel are working from home. This means that a phone call to the local TV station or national media outlet goes to voicemail. Unless you have the cell phone number of your go-to producer or host, trying to reach them during COVID is problematic.

Keep in mind these professionals are also facing added demands in working from home. They might not be as efficient as they are in the newsroom or on the production set, where colleagues can collaborate easily and have access to top technology. Many of these media folks are also trying to balance their kids' at-home learning on top of their demanding work schedules.

In short, be patient with longer than usual reply times from your media contacts, and be respectful of the challenges that they face. The other part of it is: get strategic and creative in pitching during COVID.
Tips on Pitching During COVID
The key to creating a successful media pitch, regardless of whether a pandemic is raging or not, is tying your book or brand to trending or breaking stories. Pitching during COVID is essentially the same as before the pandemic, but with some important considerations:

1. Pause and strategize as necessary.
When the pandemic first hit the U.S. in March, smart publicists suspended their promotion efforts to re-strategize and ensure their pitches were relevant, appealing and sensitive to unfolding events. It's much better to stop and regroup than to charge ahead without taking into consideration a landscape that is seismically shifting. This approach holds true for when new waves of the virus emerge, additional lockdowns are put in place, or other colossal changes occur due to COVID.

2. Tie your book or project to COVID only if its relevance is apparent.
In other words, don't pitch a connection to COVID if it's a stretch. You may end up doing more harm than good in associating your book or brand with coronavirus in a way that is interpreted as insensitive or glomming onto this tragedy for purposes of promotion.

3. Be solution oriented.
All of us are negatively affected in some way by the cascading problems caused by COVID. Messages that resound amidst the noise are ones that show how you or your project can solve problems.

For example, many have sadly lost their jobs during COVID. If you are in the hiring or human resources business, you can pitch on how to update a resume or how to turn a side hustle into a full time job.

Another example is that many people are experiencing anxiety and other mental health problems due to COVID. A professional with stress-reduction credentials might have a pitch that acknowledges our nation's anxiety and offers solutions in the form of mindfulness training.

4. It's okay if your pitch is not COVID related.
While a considerable amount of TV airtime and print space is devoted to the coronavirus, there remains an abundance of coverage on topics besides COVID. In fact, audiences need a breather from COVID coverage. Play this up when pitching a book or brand; your story is a softer one, a needed distraction from wall-to-wall coronavirus coverage.
Creating an engaging pitch that gets your book or brand attention is an art unto itself. The bar for crafting a killer pitch that gets attention is raised only higher during COVID. If you need help garnering media attention for your book or brand, reach out to me today. I have decades of experience creating hooks and following up with media contacts that equate to media interviews for my clients.
Feel free to contact me
Julia Brown
Book publicist
Phone: +1 619-888-7956
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