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Cultivating genuine connections with others via authenticity and finding ways to connect initiatives to current or trending events or pop culture is often key to successful marketing or public relations campaigns.

The rise of social media influencers throughout the past decade clearly highlights the demand for authenticity both in presentation and in principle.

Accordingly, PR professionals are expected to comprehend current social environments and understand the extensive need for, and the value of, such authenticity. Moreover, they are expected to create or take advantage of opportunities to highlight their clients through effective storytelling.

So, how can established PR professionals embody those expectations while still promoting their clients in ways that improve ROI?

By recognizing who the client's audience is, determining how the client can connect to that audience, and telling an authentic story that relates to the overall message, product, or brand objective.

Pop culture is one of the most effective ways to reach a wider variety of audiences. To best tie your media pitches to modern pop culture, you need to make them succinct and beneficial to the journalist, audience, and client. They must also be timed to the cultural moment, and the tactics used to craft them should be rooted in intentionality and personalization.

1. Understand the impact of proper pitching and storytelling

The most successful PR professionals can craft pitches and tell stories that are relevant to trending topics. That is particularly important within the context and industry their clients are connected to.

For example, if you have clients that are established in the skincare community and want to highlight an anticipated new skincare line, consider using trending hashtags that relate to self-expression and acceptance of one's identity.

Another example is trending news that relates to clients that are considered experts in their field, such as in the rapid evolution of AI technology. Finding opportunities for tech clients in that sector means studying B2B interests in relation to AI's ongoing evolution and determining how your client's branding and story fit into that trend.

After identifying which trends you want to capitalize on, refine your client's story and establish the proper niche. Tying that all together requires the use of stylized imagery and wording that is both SEO-friendly and appropriate to the journalists or outlets you pitch.

Take the skincare industry again, for example. The topic of inclusivity has been dominating headlines, and telling the heartfelt story of how your client caters to a wide variety of skin types can help capture a reader's attention.

Balance reoccurring topics with new trends in media cycles

Pop culture topics can be both ephemeral and concrete, so discussions can revolve around not only more evergreen topics but also impactful upcoming moments, events, or celebrations.

For instance, if your client's story, messaging, and branding highlight an emerging entrepreneur championing other women in the community, tying that to an event, such as Women's History Month, is a perfect way to connect your pitch to the current cultural conversation. Or, if your client is a part of initiatives that promote sustainability, establishing partnerships with popular influencers or businesses that align with your client's branding and message on Earth Day, for example, can help promote both your client and the social good the company promotes through its mission and values.

Whatever the case, ensure you research the journalists, organizations, and publications that align with your client's brand and messaging.

At the same time, be prepared for any changes or shifts in cultural events or trending stories. That includes researching what headlines or topics are not being written about, and how your client can provide critical, salient points for them.

Avoid rookie mistakes

When pitching your client's story or brand, no matter how relevant it may be, send the pitch only to journalists reporting on similar topics.

Categorizing and identifying opportunities and publications that align with your clients helps to take the generic feel out of your email messaging. The good news: that can easily be done at scale if you've already done the leg work upfront and understand who will review the pitch, as well as what the content submission guidelines are. Building relationships with journalists is key to helping your clients gain meaningful recognition through PR.

"Short and sweet" is an enduring phrase for good reason. Keeping media pitches brief and direct is essential to catching a journalist's attention, especially when it is tied to moments in pop culture.

To improve your pitch's chance of landing in the appropriate market, identify publications directly tied to the industry at hand and the nuance your client can provide to the story. Diving into a diatribe about the topic is never helpful in capturing the reader's attention, especially if you do not tailor it to the specific podcast, television station, or publication it is being sent to.

A final tip: keep the subject line of your pitch's email as short, concise, and hard-hitting as possible. It should be clear of grammatical errors and it should clearly express which current pop culture topic it is tied to while standing out from other, similar pitches.

* * *

Pop culture, much like marketing and PR, is a field that is constantly growing and changing. To craft pitches that are concise, relevant, and valuable to your clients, it's vital to stay up to date on emerging and re-emerging trends in pop culture.

More Resources on PR Strategy

Five PR Strategies for Brand-Building Through the 2022 'SaaSacre'

How PR Can Support Your Marketing Lightning Strike

Seven Pillars of B2B Brand Reputation Management

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image of David Watkins

David Watkins is a publicist at Otter PR, a public relations firm specializing in media relations, reputation management, and crisis management.

LinkedIn: David Watkins