25 Steps to PR Pitch Success

Man in Prince Philip mask shakes hands with a happy person

What does it take to get from pitch to shaking on it.

After 30 years in PR it seemed time to try and capture what makes a successful pitch. If you wanted to sum it up then Andy Turner of PR agency Six Sigma probably hits the nail on the head: ‘The magic ingredient? Insight blended with good ideas that really moves the needle, presented by likable people at an affordable price’.

Getting to this ideal is far from simple, so here are 25 top tips gleaned from three authoritative sources: PR Moment Some top tips on winning PR new business pitches; The Guardian Four tips for pitching a new client; and Management Today How to pitch for new business. Get a .doc copy of these 25 tips and the agency and prospect scorecard here: 25 Steps to PR Pitch Success.

Choose wisely

  1. Be picky and don’t pitch for business that is not a great fit for you or your company.

Really understand

  1. Go beyond the brief or request for information to truly understand the prospect’s agenda.
  2. Be clear on what the prospect expects in the pitch process and as a client.
  3. Build relationships and understanding by having several prospect discussions.

Follow the process

  1. Follow the process, don’t underestimate Procurement and take every stage seriously.
  2. Create a pitch team, ideally for start to finish, and allocate tasks and responsibilities.
  3. Make sure that your team is engaged, interested and passionate about the brief.


  1. Really get to know the business with insight-driven research.
  2. Spend more time thinking and less time on look, layout, slides and rehearsing.
  3. Road test ideas with the client and target audience.
  4. Start with client’s issues problems or goals and how they will be solved or achieved.
  5. Tell a compelling story that ends with you solving these problems.
  6. Demonstrate clear progress from insights to strategy to ideas.
  7. Cut out anything that is half-baked and does not drive the story forward.


  1. Design and deliver your pitch as theatre not just information.
  2. PowerPoint with care: Ask, ‘if you drive past the slide at 50 mph, will you understand it?’
  3. Lose the jargon and be seen as straightforward and sincere, with a no nonsense rhetoric.
  4. Appeal to instinctive emotional factors such as confidence, trust, hope and desire.
  5. Underpin emotional appeal with logical arguments to reassure client.
  6. Have at least two rehearsals in front of an audience, and remove/rework clunky bits.


  1. Research who will be in room, their real influence and dynamics between them.
  2. Get the human chemistry right because that is what gets you over the finish line.
  3. Do say ‘Are you sitting comfortably … then we’ll begin’ rather than ‘We have a 50 slide …’
  4. Show you ‘know your stuff’ and pitch yourself as equal who speaks the prospect’s language.
  5. Get the prospects talking; interaction is more engaging than being a passive audience.

What do you think? Tell me what I missed.