Crafting the perfect pitch is a fundamental skill for PR professionals: Create a message, tailor it to your audience, and include a call to action.
Journalists, bloggers, and other PR pros receive dozens of email pitches a day. To make your pitch stand out, take a page from movie marketers. They’re experts in capturing the audience’s attention in three minutes or less and leaving them on the edge of their seats.
Here are some things that movie trailers do that pitches ought to accomplish, too:
1. They grab the audience’s attention immediately
Because it’s your first impression, strive to craft the perfect subject line. Avoid spammy language, and focus on hooking the reader with a unique, personal, and informative subject line.
The best movie trailers open with an iconic moment or scene. The first few seconds are pivotal as the audience decides whether to invest time in watching the rest of the trailer. To avoid having your email get ignored or deleted, front-load the important information in the beginning and in the subject line so it can be seen immediately, even in a preview of the email.
2. They have a distinct voice.
Great pitches and effective movie trailers have identifiable tones. Expect your reader to approach your pitch wanting to be surprised or impressed. Remember, they receive multiple pitches every day, so this is a way to make yours stand out.
People respond to a pitch that sounds like it comes from a real person rather than from a template, so write a pitch that actually sounds like you. Use a fresh tone to create a pitch that is conversational and friendly. When given the chance to be clever or witty, take it. Your audience will appreciate a little humor. No matter how you use your voice, be authentic and transparent.
3. They’re timely.
Coordinate your pitch with a relevant news story that your audience can relate to, even something they’ve written. Movie trailers are just one element of marketing blockbuster films; they’re timed precisely to the release of the movie, as well as other marketing tactics. Being timely with your pitch shows your audience that you have done your research and you are well versed in what’s going on in the world.
Do some background reading before writing your pitch. This research will afford you a more natural voice, as you’ll be more confident in the knowledge of whom and what you’re pitching.
4. They leave an audience wanting more.
Your pitch should pique your audience’s curiosity without giving it all away. The best trailers give the audience just enough information to hook them without giving away the storyline. Allow the audience to take it from there—doing their own research, assembling questions, and creating their own follow-up.
Your pitch’s call to action should be very clear. Do you want your recipient to share your resource, participate in an interview, or write an editorial article? Be clear—think about those big bold words at the end of a movie trailer stating the date of the movie release—and give your readers enough direction so they’re not left trying to dissect what you want.
[RELATED: Find out how to craft the perfect pitch at our April PR & Media Relations event in NYC.]
Of course, my movie-trailer analogy doesn’t fit every case. Unlike some Hollywood trailers, your pitch should avoid hyperbole and bait-and-switch tactics. What you say in your pitch should be completely honest and transparent.
Megan Schuman is a media outreach specialist at DigitalRelevance. A version of this story originally appeared on the company's blog.