Pitching in Motion

speed pitching, pr firms chicago


By: Danielle Wink

Last week I attended the first-ever Speed Pitching event hosted by Publicity Club of Chicago. The event was a fast-paced two hours filled with the intent to pitch, network and connect. Producers, reporters and columnist sat before small groups of PR pros to find their next story!

The panelist sported an all-star cast of local media consisting of Chicago Sun-Times Columnist Marlen Garcia, WLS-TV Producer Andrea Dres, Time Out Chicago Arts & Entertainment Editor Zach Long, AdAge Reporter E.J. Schultz, Crain’s Columnist Shia Kapos, WBBM-TV Assignment Reporter Vince Gerasole and Chicago Tribune Food/Business Reporter Jessica Wohl.  They each had ten minutes to introduce themselves and then turn the mic over to a small group to individually pitch their story. The atmosphere reflected that of a press conference where the audience fought to get their pitch, brand, or name out.

The adrenaline filled the room as the monitor counted down 10 minutes before each panelist was up and rotating to the next group.  With a little research prior to the event, I was able to adjust my pitch to reflect the interest of the reporter.  It was a great way to hit the niche audience in real time.

Here are a few tips I learned while at the event, enjoy!

  • Some reporters are old school. Vince Gerasole appreciates phone calls over emails. He also appreciates the public relations to media relationships and likes reading pitches.
  • Some reporters are straight to the point. Sometimes your idea is great but it’s not the right fit and Andrea Dres is a breath of fresh air to a PR guru. She knows what she wants to cover and how she wants it done.  If it’s not for her station she isn’t afraid to say so! (She’s pretty stylish too.)
  • Some reporters know your pitch before you even open your mouth. Zach Long new about every festival or event that we threw at him. I had to reach into my plan-c and plan-d pitches to give him an event he wasn’t privy too.

It was a fun game of chess but I was able to tell him about Wine Riot 2015. Check and mate! I was able to score a few client placements, learn about pitching the media first hand and meet some great people face-to-face.I’d recommend the event to any up and coming PR pro.