In contrast to advertising or paid media, public relations is known as earned media. Instead of paying for print space or broadcast time, you need to formulate a pitch that convinces reporters and editors to cover and write positively about your client or brand. Earning their attention is therefore crucial for a business that wants their brand to grow.
Pitching to journalists is a challenge. Tons of PR practitioners are trying to do the same and want the same positive response. That’s why creating a great first impression through your email is essential.
Below are some tips that will make journalists notice your pitch.
1. Know the Journalist.
You need to get to know the journalist really well and not just his full name and contact information. This will help you tailor your pitch according to his preferences and interests. Aside from aiming for a higher “positive response” rate, this act also shows you’re sincerely interested in starting a relationship with them.
2. Be Conscious of How and When to Contact the Media.
By the time you have gathered enough information about the journalist, you should already have an idea about the right time and the best way to reach out to them. Observe courtesy. Respect their time.
3. Pitch an Interesting Story, Not just the Product.
People love stories. Don’t just write to them and say how good your product is. You may start by telling how you discovered a problem, what solution you found, and how well it worked for you. Stories create connections with people.
4. Be Relevant.
Your story pitch should ultimately be relevant to the interest of your chosen journalist. Show them respect by not pitching brands which are irrelevant for their target audience.
5. Keep It Short.
Time is valuable for journalists. Keep your message short while ensuring a logical flow of information. Make sure your pitch has an emotional element and tells a story that would open people up.
6. Honesty Matters.
Show sincerity in every message you send or say to them -- it can be felt even without face-to-face interaction.
7. Choose Your Words Carefully.
Your choice of words can make or break your pitch. Get expert advice from reputable and experienced PR firms or practitioners.
8. Subject Line is Important.
According to various studies, 30% to 40% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone. When composing an email pitch to journalists, begin with an enticing subject line that encourages higher open rate. Tell them what’s on your email. Unclear and boring subject lines will turn them off.
9. Know when to Follow Up.
If you don’t receive any response soon, don’t be tempted to call them repeatedly. These people have a lot on their plate. Wait for a few days before you send them a follow up email. While it seems a good idea to reply to your initial email when following up, there is a reason why that email didn’t get a response.
Many consider that the Best Follow Up is a New Pitch. A new email serves as a fresh attempt to attract the recipient’s attention.
10. Respond Immediately.
Once the journalist writes back, reply as soon as possible -- regardless if their response is positive or negative. By doing this, it will show your genuine interest in building a great relationship with them.
11. Build a Personal Relationship.
“Not Interested” and “This isn’t my beat” are just some of the seemingly frustrating responses that you could hear from journalists. While it’s necessary to respect their decision, there are also some ways you can turn that “NO” to “YES”. Maybe not on your first attempt but there is always another opportunity to collaborate.
Do you know any other tips for effectively pitching to journalists? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.