Need help with your pitches?
Pitching is hard. Many PR agencies struggle to find a gripping angle. Young PRs are new to professional copywriting - lapsing into cliche and management-ese.
To help, Business Age founder Charles Orton-Jones offers a tutorial:
"How to pitch and write an opinion piece".
The session is quick-fire, taking 40 minutes max, including Q&A, and delivered over Zoom.
1) The logic behind a brilliant opinion piece
The difference between a theme and a thesis; the brilliant headlines of Adrian Chiles (yes, seriously); the value of counter-intuitive thinking; Simon Kuper's Single Point; how to judge what you can cover in a 700-word article.
2) How to pitch to an editor
What information to provide; pitch format; Dos and Don'ts; how to develop a relationship with an editor to gain preferential treatment.
3) How to write
Hook'em and Hold'em intros; how to find the right tone of voice; breaking the Fourth Wall; Stephen King's view on adverbs; the science of storytelling...this session blitzes through the writers' armoury.
4) Why your piece is struggling
Common errors: The Generic Intro; poor use of macro-statistics; the curse of business-ese; Hitchens' Razor; question stacking; and more.
5) How to post-edit your article
We'll talk about the ever-decreasing paragraph; re-thinking the ending to give your theme a Final Push; how to offer feedback to a colleague's work; and which online tools writers actually use.
The most troublesome issue of all. We'll discuss the value of amazing images; how to commission a photographer with ultra-specific guidance; the hallmarks of a smash-hit image; the variety of formats your image library needs to cover; how to think about the background to your shoot; the Greg Williams' method of subject interaction. Most PR agencies are terrible at images (sorry, but it's true) - this will reverse that.
This session covers a huge amount of ground. Whilst it is impossible for young PRs to absorb all the information, it's a crash course in the concepts they need to be aware of in order to write editorial that creates an impact.
Is it any good?
Here's Hannah Haffield, founder of PR agency Make More Noise, who hired Charles to deliver a session over Zoom to train her staff.
"We were looking for an experienced journalist who could provide clear, concise, advice to assist our PR teams in creating high quality content for publication that could easily be sold in. Charles delivered an engaging presentation and Q&A session that referenced real world examples and his own experiences, covering everything we required and more. Everyone who attended the session agreed that it was extremely useful and have asked for Charles to come back for another one on a different topic.
If you are thinking of hiring Charles we recommend you seize the opportunity."
Cost: £200 for small agencies (fewer than ten staff), £300 for medium and large agencies. It's not about the cost. It's about raising standards across the industry.
Interested? Then ping the editor a message: firstname.lastname@example.org