How to add personality to your PR pitch

Writers and PR pros can develop deep, lasting relationships if early interactions are handled correctly. Here are some ideas for how to strengthen these ties.

Email correspondence and digital sleuthing in the marketing world can be at once tedious and precarious.

Will they respond? Was I too forward? Did I take it too far by following them on Twitter?

However, once you make that perfect connection, all the second guessing and stress is worth the effort.  Connecting with writers and landing top-tier media coverage for your brand is still the name of the game when it comes to increasing brand recognition and improving SERPs.

What most people don’t realize is that building relationships with writers begins at the pitching stage. That’s why Fractl interviewed 500+ writers at publications like Bustle, CNBC and Huffington Post to uncover how developing your personal voice can help your emails get opened and read—and get some responses.

Most writers at high-domain-authority publications said they receive over 30 pitches a day, and about 23% admit to never reading them. Chin up: This means that the other 77% of writers are likely to give your pitch a chance. Aside from ensuring the quality of the content you’re offering, your email should include three main components:

  1. An engaging subject line
  2. A personal touch (personalization)
  3. Authentic voice
‘Please read this email’

Your subject line is the first thing a writer will see and—as any marketer will tell you—there’s  no secret formula for creating the perfect one. There are a few tips and tricks to help you improve, however.

Avoiding ‘salesy’ or ‘click-bait’ material in your subject line will help assure the writer that you’re not a bot. Excessive punctuation, capitalization and vague statements are immediate turn-offs, not to mention, they might trigger a spam filter.

In my experience, I’ve found great success in adding phrases like “[Exclusive]” or “[New Study]” emphasized in brackets to the subject line, so writers know precisely what they’ll be reading. Try using numbers or statistics from your content whenever possible. Data is more trustworthy than bold claims or predictions. Additionally, you can build a connection in your subject line by mentioning a personal tidbit or something you picked up from the writer’s social platforms: “Exclusive study, from one Gator grad to another.”

If your emails aren’t being opened, they aren’t being seen. Taking that first step to try new tactics in your subject lines is the quickest way to increase your open rate and content visibility.

Do your homework

The most important aspect of media outreach is researching where and who to pitch. Our study shows that four in 10 publishers believe the pitches in their inbox are not at all valuable to their coverage. Take the time to find an editor or writer in the right vertical.

Additionally, while “Twitter stalking” and archive searches can feel a bit excessive at times, it proves to the writer that you’re paying attention, you care and you’re interested in the work they do:

In an additional journalist survey, we discovered the No. 1 most abhorrent pitching practice that annoys journalists is sending a pitch irrelevant to their beat. One of the easiest ways to avoid being blacklisted is to make sure you’re doing thorough research before pressing send.

Taking the time to craft a tailored pitch and subject line already puts your ahead of dozens of other “blind” pitches.

Deepening the bond

Your professional connections can be strengthened by making little personalized gestures that show you appreciate the writer’s partnership. Holiday cards, birthday gifts, emails based on inside jokes and thoughtful gift cards to their favorite restaurant are good places to start.

I’ve been invited out to drinks, on a ski vacation, and to Universal Studios by writers. These friendships can be real, and by developing an authentic voice and staying true to your personality, you can begin to establish a bridge of trust between yourself and the writer—and ultimately, between the publication and your agency.

Content creators should understand that creating quality content is only valuable to your clients if you have the resources and techniques to promote them effectively.

Knowing what writers expect from a pitch is a great way to forge a mutually beneficial relationship with industry-leading publications and the best way to solidify those relationships is by developing your personal brand and pitching with authenticity. After all, we’re all real people beyond the screen.

Delaney Kline is a Growth Specialist at Fractl, a creative digital marketing agency specializing in the creation and promotion of branded content. @delaneykline

COMMENT

3 Responses to “How to add personality to your PR pitch”

    GGPR says:

    Make sure that the journalist is okay with receiving small gifts. I’ve had one tell me their employer will not let them accept gifts of any kind. Greeting cards should be fine though.

    Delaney Kline says:

    Oh, definitely. At Fractl, we ask for permission and addresses in advance to be sure they’re OK to receive mail from business partners. Thanks for adding this tip, GGPR!

    Tony Arnold says:

    I’ve used this intro technique effectively with numerous TV assignment desks. I call the desk, assignment manager, news director, etc. to introduce myself. I tell them I’m going to be sending them numerous stories. I’d like to bring by a bunch of bagels & cream cheese for one of their morning assignment meetings as a gift. In today’s security/safety conscious environment, you may have to do a “pre-meet” so they can see you are a “real” PR guy and not some crazy terrorist. Then, I go buy a couple of dozen Brueggers’ bagels and cream cheeses. Next, I get an imitation Longabarger basket and cheap, but nice, cloth napkins from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby to display the bagels in. I throw in a bunch of my business cards or other marketing collateral. Last I drop it off 30-60 minutes before the assignment meeting. The next time I call or email an editor, I reference that I’m the guy who sent the bagels to their assignment meeting. I usually get an “Oh yeah” and a warm thanks.It’s a great way to “begin” the relationship(s), especially if you’re going to have some good visual stories coming. Like my friend Glenn (GGPR) above, check first. Don’t just drop by the station with a basket of bagels.

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