You and I have both read plenty of articles focused on the art of pitching a story. Some experts emphasize the importance of the subject line; others stress a strong hook to capture interest. Some focus on length; others focus on content.
In my experience, there are countless ways to write a strong pitch—and possibly even more ways to mess it up. Though this post is far from my personal Pitching Manifesto, I have put together some definite factors that will ensure your email finds the trash bin.
1. Excessive length
When it comes to pitching, brevity is preferred. This is certainly true when you consider what a journalist’s inbox must look like, but I like to keep my pitches short for a different reason.
If you, as a PR practitioner, can’t explain the story concisely, you probably don’t understand the story well enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had the pleasure of pitching complex topics, but it’s still important to explain the angle crisply so the journalist can envision the story instantly.
Unfortunately, I cannot provide an “ideal length,” because every story is different, but if the reporter has to scroll down to read the entire message, it’s probably too long.
2. Wrong person