Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Help! Pitch assignment needed

Since we've decided that they need to know it, does anyone have any ideas on how to teach undergrads about pitching? I have about 1.5 hours on Thursday allotted to media relations, but I'd like to have them do something fun like role play or otherwise being active (not just me lecturing).

Would appreciate any suggestions on the assignment generally or a product/service to use as a practice case.

By the way, not pitching bloggers--that'll be up on Friday. Just "old" media.

Update: I blended what I was thinking with what Kami suggested in the comments to come up with this assignment: First had two sets of students act out a good pitch and a bad pitch (I wrote scripts based on this). Then I set up five clients, divided them up among the students, and gave them 20 minutes to go do research on the client's Web site. Each student had to develop three pitches of 2-3 sentences and name the news outlet they would approach. Then they compared their pitches to those by the others working on the same client. Finally, they each chose their best one to present in front of the class. It worked well, and I think they liked it, maybe because the clients were appealing to them--scooters, hurricanes, country music singers, college drinking prevention, and The One Campaign. Thanks for the suggestions, Kami!

Comments:
Since Thursday is tomorrow, I hope you have already prepared this, but here are my tips:

Break the class into dyads
Have one play the cynical reporter, the other the PR
Have them prepare a one page "cheat" sheet with the following facts:

Why their product/service would be interesting to the publication's readership/viewership/etc

Three key messages about the product that they want to get across (these should come from the PR plan)

Other tips:

Do it all in 30 seconds or less
Don't start with I am Jane from XYZ company, start with the benefits.

Example:

Hi reporters name...

I am calling to make you aware that XYZ company has gotten final approval from state regulators to offer a foundation system that will withstand hurricane force winds and not add much to the price of a home. We think that the readers of your media outlet, who are facing a possibly severe hurricane season, might be very interested in seeing how it works.

We are demonstrating it next week with XYZ engineering school. They will back a 747 engine up to the foundation and simulate hurricane force winds.

Would you like me to add you to the media list to attend the event.

(Answer here, or question)

We will have some experts on site at the demonstration and we can arrange an interview with our CEO at your convenience before or after the event.
 
It sounds like a great hands-on assignment. There is nothing better than practice.
 
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