Savvy pitching secrets for PR pros

PR pros who put down the phone, keep their emails brief, consider a publication’s readers and avoid attachments can win favor with journalists. Crafting an effective follow-up is crucial.


This article originally appeared on PR Daily in May of 2017.

Pitching is something we do day in and day out.

Seeking out and landing editorial opportunities for our clients is our priority. Finding success starts with writing a solid pitch. Sometimes a solid pitch is not enough, even if you know it’s the perfect fit for the journalist you’re approaching.

Think about how many others are pitching that same editor daily. You are just one among the masses, and it’s easy for your pitch, no matter how good it is, to get lost in a journalist’s inbox.

I recently watched an insightful PR Daily webinar guest-hosted by journalists and leaders from top media companies, and they shared terrific pitching tips. Here’s a short list of takeaways:

  • Keep it concise. The longer the pitch, the less likely it is that journalists will read it—and even less likely that they’ll respond.
  • Follow and engage with journalists on Twitter. Research shows 98 percent of journalists are on Twitter each week, and 86 percent are happy to have PR pros following them.
  • Pitch journalists by email. A whopping 93 percent prefer email to phone pitches.
  • Try newsjacking. Think about the hook and whether your news ties in to a trending story.
  • Consider their target audience. This helps you ensure your topic has relevance for them.
  • Be candid. Say up front whom you’re representing. Don’t hide any corporate interest.
  • Be factual. Do not exaggerate.
  • Ditch the attachments. Links are a better way to share images and other relevant content.

On the PR Daily webinar, the journalists also talked about follow-up, saying that it’s acceptable for PR pros to follow up once or twice a week (at the most) after your initial pitch. If you haven’t heard back by then, though, let it go.

I see some of my best pitching success with the follow-up email.

I am guilty of copy-heavy pitches, because I want to cover all the details up front. In my follow-up, I include my original email at the bottom of the thread, and I limit my follow-up text to two sentences, so that it’s easy to digest.

I don’t assume they have read my original email, so the first sentence of my follow-up summarizes my initial message. The second is the call to action.

Here’s an example of a simple and effective follow-up:

Hi X,

I just wanted to make sure you received my email about X, which is a great fit for your readers because X. Let me know your thoughts and if you’re on board, I’ll work with X to put this piece together so it’s nice and easy for you.

Thanks!

Which follow-up styles work well for you?

Erin Phillips is an account manager at Caster Communications. A version of this article originally appeared on the agency’s blog. You can connect with Erin on LinkedIn or via Twitter: @erinmktgpr.

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