It’s Cool to Be “Old School”

At Kolbeco, there are certain things in PR we like to keep Old School. No, I don’t mean listening to some 80’s R&B on a tape deck. We’re not drawing out branding strategies on a Lite-Brite. And none of us is wearing Parachute Pants (at least TO the office).

Here, Old School means honoring the basics of what makes for good PR. It means respecting reporters and delivering what they need to help them do their jobs in a way that’s meaningful to their audience. We honor their time, treat them as the individuals they are, and take the time to pitch them one-on-one.

When it comes to PR, we take a step back and consider a few things.

  • What is the goal with this pitch?
  • What are we hoping to achieve?
  • Who is the best fit and who are we targeting?
  • What would have the biggest impact for our client?

Of course there are tools, websites and tricks that can cut down on time and get your message out to a large audience quickly, but is that truly the best method if your message isn’t hitting the RIGHT people? Over the years, we’ve heard many tales of bad pitches from our journalist friends. What makes them bad? They’re off target, have nothing to do with what the reporter covers, or offer them something that’s not a fit for the audience.

The making of a good pitch

Want to increase your chances of getting a response from a reporter? The first step is to slow down and actually consume his or her content. After all, how do you know you’re on track if you haven’t read, watched, or listened to them?

Case in point: I recently was in the midst of pitching a client’s new product to the media. I had my list, I had the facts I needed to convey, and it would have been quite easy for me to hit SEND. But that’s not what we do here at Kolbeco! There was one writer in particular I really wanted to reach. I read several of her articles, mentioned facts from them and pointed out how my client was relevant, offering her a sample of the new product to review. Within two minutes she emailed me back (which rarely happens that quickly), and said, “I don’t normally reply to pitches but that was one of the best I’ve ever gotten so I thought it definitely deserved a reply.” The reason that pitch caught her attention was because she knew it was authentic and something sent to her because she would truly be interested, not because she’s just another name on the list.

Now, I’m not sharing that story with you to brag. I’m sharing because that’s how all of us at Kolbeco approach each step of our job. We think through what’s best for the client and will meet their specific goals, rather than what’s easiest, what’s flashiest or what worked for others. It’s important to be true to their brand and create a custom plan that makes the most sense for them.

This is true for any business. Don’t just follow the herd and do what others are doing or get caught up in the trendy new thing. Would a retirement home be posting on Snapchat stories? Considering the majority of folks using Snapchat are Millennials or younger, I would say no. Stop (collaborate and listen) and think through why you would do it, and if it makes sense for your audience, business or lifestyle. You’ll not only save time, money, and sanity, but you’ll also stick to your specific brand identity.

Does being Old School in PR mean that we don’t leverage technology, social media, or other innovative ways to reach the audience? Absolutely not. In fact, we pride ourselves on determining the right mix of tactics and channels to help our clients tell their stories. This involves a great deal of creativity, strategic alignment with the brand, and the roll-up-your-sleeves hard work to get it done. (Ask me some time how and why we hired a comedian in New York to deliver a cake to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.)

As a reward for making it to the end of my blog, be sure to check out this Old School Memories Pinterest board for a special treat. I guarantee you’ll be squealing, “OMG, I love Lisa Frank!”, or “yes! What happened to my trapper keeper?”, in no time.


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