UN Foundation’s Aaron Sherinian: At the Heart of Every Good Pitch Is a Personal Connection


Aaron Sherinian
Aaron Sherinian

Even practiced media relations experts wonder how their peers succeed at getting positive coverage for their organizations. With that in mind, PR News asked Aaron Sherinian, executive director of communications and public affairs at the United Nations Foundation, to share his media relations expertise at PR News' Aug. 6 Next Practices PR Conference in San Francisco.

Sherinian has helped reach some of the most talked-about milestones in digital global engagement around causes and UN issues over the last few years, including the Social Good Summit, #GivingTuesday, Rio+Social and the Momentum1000 global social media rally. In the following Q&A, he offers a preview of his Next Practices PR Conference presentation.

PR News: How does the UN Foundation identify and foster relationships with influencers?

Aaron Sherinian: We ask ourselves three questions: Who is the most innovative voice on the subject? Who is the most committed voice on the subject? Who is the voice we can invest in now for a more long-term relationship? For us, it’s not just about working with the “loudest voice,” it’s about being the voice with the longest reach.

PR News: What's the best way to handle a difficult interview question?

Sherinian: Look at the question as a potential opportunity to get out your key message. A difficult interview question always highlights some aspect of your issue. Your job is to assess what that tells you about how the story is playing and get out your talking points.

PR News: What's the best PR pitch you've seen? The worst?

Sherinian: The best PR pitch I’ve ever seen came from a teenage girl named Itzel in San Francisco. She was talking about the need for people to connect in support of adolescent girls around the world. Her message was very clear and concise: This issue merits coverage because it attracted my attention and my passions. This kind of personal connection will always be at the heart of the best pitches.

The worst PR pitches are always the ones that are clearly just trying to spin something. When you are trying to gloss over big issues, you’re likely to make yourself look more slippery than shiny.

To get how-to's on finding influencers, telling your brand's story visually, breaking down internal silos and more, register for PR News' Aug. 6 Next Practices PR Conference, held in San Francisco.

Follow Lucia Davis: @LKCDavis.

  • marysaunders

    Thanks for posting this. I have felt that story is central to good pitches, and this backs me up in that view.