Face it. Email boxes have become swamped with chain mail, daily-news bulletins, product announcements and more. So how can PR pros break-free from this mail overload and catch the busy reporter eye?1. Research recipients: This is pretty straightforward, and relies on your common sense. Most information about journalists and bloggers is readily available via the publication’s website, as well as media databases like Cision, which tell you reporter beats and preferred content. Take time and determine if they’re the right media fit for you.
2. Craft the most interesting E-mail subject line ever: Really. Journalists receive hundreds, if not thousands of emailed pitches EVERY day. There’s not enough time to weed through them all; and let’s face it, the most exciting, newsworthy stories win the race. Craft a truly eye-catching (but short) subject line to draw attention to your message.
3. You’ve hooked them…now what? Reporters don’t feel warm and fuzzy receiving “standard” email pitches, so address them by their first name. It shows respect, and adds a personalized touch. Also, take a line or two and mention their previous articles. This shows the reader you appreciate his/her time because you took the time to ensure your content is relevant to them.
4. Keep it simple: Emails should be no longer than three short paragraphs. Nobody likes novel emails, so limit your pitch to two or three important points. As most e-mails with attachments deliver to SPAM folders, don’t send attachments unless they’re requested.
5. Edit. And edit some more: Fine-tune your pitch and get the most pertinent information in. If you spark interest, you’ll get a response. Include appropriate contact information (hint: phone numbers!) in your e-mail signature. In my experience, reporters would rather call for details than waste time typing, especially on deadline.
6. Know your product: Pitching journalists does no good if you don’t truly understand your product. No one expects you to have all the answers, but answer inquiries quickly. Reporters are looking to you as a source. Make it worth their while. (Tip: Your media kit should contain photos, fact sheets and product info, so have it available.)
Remember: Reporters depend on accuracy. You may e-mail 100 pitches and only get one response. Also, consider yourself fortunate. After your product receives the coverage you worked so hard to obtain, call the reporter and thank them. You’ll help secure a lasting relationship for future stories and please your client. Win – win!
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