Throwing in the First Pitch

One of my final, most meaningful and challenging tasks for MSL Hong Kong this summer has been taking my first stab at compiling a pitch – a retainer pitch to one of our former clients, for whom we’ve conducted media relations in the past. It’s now time for MSL to propose a more long-term service campaign to their company, who has much potential to increase both their industry stature and thought leadership. Engagement with the local, Asia regional and finance media will be a large channel through which our potential new client can make these improvements – and this is where we’ll come in.

When drafting a PR strategy pitch, which takes its most elementary form in that of “PPT,” there are many sources of background information and ideas from which to draw. All of our findings, client opportunities and strategic ideas then fall into a three-pronged presentation comprised of: Current Status, Communication Needs & Strategy Proposal. The following steps summarize the most valuable steps which helped me through my first [several] attempts at a real-life client pitch:

1. Taking the Mound. The first resource that I referenced when compiling the pitch was a recent pitch given by my firm, which happened to be for a client in a similar, wealth-related industry. Starting with the template of a former and successful pitch allowed for efficient short-cuts to valuable insight, such as media lists of the relevant regional finance publications we’d recommend for our client or ideas for a financial client to enhance its industry thought leadership (i.e. through investor surveys, educational finance tutorials, etc.).

2. Getting a Grip. Once a template is established and a proposal is underway, the best way to brainstorm possible solutions for a potential new client is to look for gaps in the business of all parties involved. Not only was I advised to delve into what this company was lacking in media angles and industry input; I also researched their presence in Hong Kong specifically, and into what subject areas of Hong Kong wealth management their industry voice could fit. Moreover, I looked into which service areas of our firm and its financial department were under-developed; this provided great ideas into areas where perhaps our professionals had great experience but our agency itself didn’t in the recent past. Finally, a gap in the knowledge and ability of our local media landscape provided a great idea for our agency’s client pitch: an opportunity to exercise thought leadership among journalists in the region by sharing rudimentary tips on covering finance in local news.

3. The Wind-Up. Next, it was important that I examined all past or current initiatives that this potential new client already had under way. As this company had recently been a client of my agency – on a project-basis only, for their regional CEO’s first visit to Hong Kong – I first looked to which services the client had both benefited from and been happy with. In the case of this client, the one-day media tour on which we guided their spokesperson to discuss the findings of one of their recent industry surveys was a great success. Because this opportunity displayed the potential for this client’s story to gain coverage in the local and Asia finance media, we knew that they had much to gain from a routine, monthly media relations strategy and support package from our agency. Secondly, we turned to our London counterparts at Capital MSL for ideas from their past work with the same client, at their UK headquarters. Hooray for inter-agency idea-sharing!

4. The Release! Pending. Our corporate and financial team is nearly ready to share this invaluable proposal with the client!

5. The Follow-through. Follow-through on a client pitch entails research and forward-thinking, through such daily tasks as tracking the client’s local media coverage, staying abreast of recent industry trends or “hot topics,” and keeping an ever-open mind to new ideas or client projects.

Chan Ho Park, circa Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008

About Cory Welsh

Cory Welsh is a progressive BA/Masters degree program participant at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and received her B.A. in Communication in May 2011. After growing up in Ventura County, CA, Cory moved to Los Angeles in order to solidify her interest in facilitating relationships and organization through communication. Most recently, Cory served as the exhibitor relations coordinator for the 2011 LA Times Festival of Books. She is currently serving as a student intern at a renowned PR agency in Hong Kong, and will complete her Masters of Communication Management in December 2011.
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