PR pros: Avoid these common email pitching mistakes

Getting noticed by a journalist takes solid strategy. Don’t make these errors when crafting your next email pitch.

Contacting journalists and getting your brand placed in a story rely heavily on writing an effective pitch.

Crafting a strong, interesting message can be a challenge. PR pros sometimes make several mistakes during the process. Check out these three common missteps when writing a pitch to members of the media and learn how to fix them:

1. You hog the spotlight.

When writing a pitch to introduce a journalist to your brand and share why he or she should cover your story, don’t make it all about you. Instead of touting all your organization or your brand’s recent accomplishments, or introducing its great new product offerings, shape the pitch around the journalist and his or her readers. Share why your story will benefit them, and you’ll be more likely to catch the reporter’s attention.

2. The pitch is too long.

Though it might take many paragraphs or pages to tell your full story, remember that writing a pitch is about spelling out the basics and teasing the journalist about the newsworthy qualities of the brand you represent. It’s best to leave out most of the information in favor of a few key details; if the reporter wants the full story, he or she will ask for it.

3. You only send press releases.

A press release may cover all of the necessary information you are trying to convey, but it will bog down journalists who are looking for news. Try pairing a press release with a quick email introduction highlighting main bullet points and key takeaways from the release. The reporter will appreciate your taking the time to craft a separate message and simplifying the story.

In addition, you should also get to know the reporter and become familiar with topics he or she covers. Many pitches reach editors or assignment editors who won’t be writing the story. You can dramatically raise the likelihood of gaining coverage by getting the “right” journalist interested.

What other tips can you offer for writing a pitch that’s likely to get you noticed?

Beth Adan is at senior publicist and graphic designer at Three Girls Media. A version of this article originally appeared on the agency’s blog.

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