Your media pitch is arguably more important than your press release.
It is your “foot in the door” to reach a journalist and help them see your brand or product’s true story. So, how do you master the art of media pitches?
Here are tried-and-true tips that will help you create more effective pitches and increase your chances of getting press coverage for your business:
1. Treat the subject line as a clickable moment.
What will make the person you’re pitching open your email?
Writing an attractive intriguing subject line is the key to making reporters want to open your email. Don’t try to tell the entire story. Remember: You need to make the reporter curious and interested in your email.
Sometimes a subject line that is not about the facts, but about the results, vision or goal can be more attractive for the reporter.
When we shared our 2018 Holiday Marketing Report Insights, we didn’t use the report’s name in the subject line. We even didn’t mention the company name. Instead, we used the following intriguing subject: “New survey shows the #1 marketing trend expected this holiday season is video.”
After you capture a reporter’s attention, you must take care not to squander it.
Most writers don’t want to see a lengthy story or multiple paragraphs. A recent Muck Rack survey found that 58 percent of journalists say that the ideal length of a pitch email is two to three paragraphs. Write much more and your pitch becomes white noise and readers might miss the actual story. The same goes for multiple attachments and other creative materials.
2. Avoid attachments.
Mysterious appended files can be a surefire way to end up in a spam folder—or blocked entirely.
How then do you write a pitch that connects with someone you may not know, identifies a story and includes compelling visuals that don’t land you in the trash bin?
3. Say hello and connect.
Personalizing your pitch removes barriers and shows a reporter you are familiar with his or her work and understand the community or readers their publication targets. You can reference another article they’ve written, look for a personal connection via their online bio or mention a tweet they recently shared. End with a brief description of why you’re reaching out.
4. Craft a video pitch.
Not everyone takes the time to create a custom video and then embed it into their media pitch. This offers an opportunity to tell your story with another medium, all while giving a reporter additional tools to identify if your pitch is a fit for their audience.
If nothing else, it may make your company or brand more memorable and increase the likelihood your email is opened next time. How then should you add a video to your pitch?
Your video is an opportunity to tell your story, reframe your pitch and connect with your media contact in a compelling way. Correctly embedded, it eliminates the need for attachments, while still breathing life into what is otherwise a stale, print format for a pitch.
If you are not yet convinced why, here are 4 reasons that will make you give it a try and create a 30 second video pitch:
- It offers the reporter an option to skip the text and watch a video instead.
- It provides a visual version of your pitch with photos, video and text overlay.
- It contains a call to action for your story and encourages the reporter to keep reading your email.
- It engages multiple senses by incorporating royalty free music to highlight the excitement in your story.
Tips to get started
Convinced you should make that video? Here’s how to get going:
- Write a short script.Start with eight to 12 short sentences that will help you convey your message.
- Start with a hook. It could be a metaphor, a stat or an example to make the reporter curious enough to watch the video to the end.
- Follow design principles. Start by choosing the visuals that will match the script you wrote. Add your texts to it and finish with a matching soundtrack. Try to use the same fonts, colors and text animation to maintain a consistent, professional design.
- Don’t forget to add a call to action. The CTA should be the action that you want to drive the reporter to do. Examples include getting a reporter to interview your CEO, write an article about your story or quote you.
- Publish and create a link for your email. Once your video is ready, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo so you will have a shareable link. Avoid sending heavy mp4 files by email. You can create a thumbnail image that will be inserted into your email when you paste your link to the online video. It can either be a screenshot of the video or any image that is related to your pitch.
If you’ve kept the reporter’s attention during your opening two to three sentences and they’ve watched your short form video, this is your chance to really pitch your story.
This last part needs to hit three, key points. It works better if you think of these as questions and make sure they’re all answered:
- What is the story?
- Why is it relevant to me (the reporter)
- How is it relevant for my readers (the audience)
Make sure to include applicable facts and stats. Reporters love data points and numbers, and they also lend credibility to your story. If your facts and stats can be linked back to your website or blog, even better.
Create trackable links that lead to all your assets, graphic files, company logo, the full press release, additional visuals, a video. You’ll have something to track to see the success rate of your pitches, too.
5. Identify the right media contacts.
Nothing tops a hand-curated and well-researched media list
Who should you look for? Make sure a reporter covers the topic you are pitching about or the industry you represent. It’s a big mistake to pitch a reporter that covers artificial reality tech with a story about fashion trends.
While you research the reporters, keep links to two to three articles that they wrote and are relevant for your story so you can mention them in your pitch.
Hila Shitrit Nissim is the VP of communications at Promo. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.