A journalist’s email box is swamped with chain mail, daily-news bulletins, product announcements, and more.
To break through the mess, you need to research the person you’re pitching and make sure your email subject line is informative, unique, and short.
Once you’ve followed these steps and the reporter, editor, or blogger has opened the email. What should this pitch email look like? Here are some suggestions:
Address the reporter/editor/blogger by his or her name.
It shows respect, and adds a personalized touch. Reporters don’t feel warm and fuzzy receiving “standard” email pitches. Take a line or two and mention one of those previous articles you researched. Personalizing your email shows the reader you appreciate his or her time.
Emails should be no longer than four short paragraphs.
As most emails with attachments arrive in spam folders, focus your pitch on three important points, and let the reporter contact you. Don’t send attachments unless they’re requested.
Edit, and edit again.
Fine tune your pitch to ensure it includes the most pertinent information. If you spark the recipient’s interest, you’ll get a response. To that end, include appropriate contact information (hint: phone numbers!) in your email signature. In my experience, reporters would rather call for details than waste precious minutes typing.
Know your product.
Pitching journalists will do you no good if you haven’t taken the time to understand your product. If you’re lucky enough to get a response, be timely with returning information. Offer photos and fact sheets, and answer inquiries quickly. Reporters are looking for your sources. Make it worth their while.
Remember: Reporters depend on you to be precise.
When it’s all over, thank the reporter.
You may email 100 pitches and only get one response. Consider yourself fortunate. After your product receives the coverage you worked so hard to attain, call the reporter and thank him or her—you’ll be glad you did. You’ll help secure a lasting relationship for future stories, and you’ll make your client smile.
Laurie A. Moon is principal at Step Communications, with experience in non-profit, consumer and tech PR.