Editors, journalists and producers receive countless emails in a day, so how do you make sure your pitch stands out for the right reasons?
As a PR practitioner, often our first port of call is to send an email pitch to media to try and secure a story for our client. An effective PR professional should put a great deal of thought into crafting not only the body of the email but also the subject line. Everything should be accurate, timely, informative and compiled in a way that grabs the attention of the journalist.
Before you hit that send button, consider these four points.
1. Identifying the right journalist and media outlet
Do research before pitching to ensure what you’re sending is relevant to the journalist’s beat and what the media outlet covers. I always check out the journalist’s Twitter and read up on their latest stories.
Try linking your pitch to a recent story they have done to show how it is relevant for them. This personalisation shows the journalist that you understand their publication and how it fits into their style, niche and most importantly, why it is of interest for their audience.
There’s no point in pitching a visual photo opportunity to a radio producer but it is important to have talent available for interviews.
2. The subject line
The subject line is often the first thing a journalist sees, so it is your best opportunity to make a memorable impression, otherwise a perfectly crafted email body will end up in the delete folder.
Think ‘what’s the hook, the news angle?’ and keep it short and sweet. A typical desktop inbox displays about 60 characters while mobile devices show roughly 30. Eliminate any words that don’t add value and don’t be afraid to put exactly what it is you’re offering – now’s not the time to be creative with jargon.
Your subject line should entice the journalist to want to find out more but it shouldn’t be misleading.
It’s also worthwhile conveying the email’s purpose in your subject. For feature writers, let them know you’re giving them a feature story, for example, “Feature story: Meet the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500” or for radio producers offer an interview opportunity, for example, “Interview opportunity: CEO speaks out against new regulations”.
If you’re offering the media an exclusive, state that in your subject line – media love a good exclusive.
Now that you’ve crafted the perfect subject line – what about the rest of the email? One golden rule – keep it simple! Make it readable with short sentences, bullet points and subheadings.
Your email pitch should be concise and outline the relevance and newsworthiness of the story for that publication. What’s the news value to the journalist? Is it timely, local, do you have a prominent spokesperson, is it controversial? Let them know what the news angle is straight up.
Make sure your email includes all the relevant assets – images, b-roll footage, links, RRPs (if you’re promoting a product) – this will make the journalist’s job easier.
If you’re offering talent, make sure they’re available and list out what they can provide commentary on. If you’re offering vision opportunities describe what these may look like.
Last but not least, don’t forget to check that you’ve spelled the journalist’s name right!
4. To attach or not to attach
Some programs block emails which have attachments, so when it comes to attaching your media release and relevant assets, this can be tricky.
I always prefer to copy and paste my media releases into the body of the email, immediately after my pitch spiel to be safe. It’s one less thing for a journalist to open and they can continue reading on from your pitch. Some may be wary of opening files from an unknown email address.
Crafting the perfect pitch can result in incredible media coverage for your client and may also allow you to build and maintain a lasting working relationship with key journalists and media outlets.
At Elevate, our team of media specialists and ex-journalists understand exactly what it takes to reach the right journalists at the right time with the most relevant stories. We pride ourselves on building relationships with journalists and in doing so, have become the go-to PR for a number of journalists and producers.
If you’re interested in finding out how Elevate can support you with media relations, reach out today!