According to Cision, journalists continue to prefer being contacted via email, with more than 90% indicating email is the best way to directly pitch a story idea to them. So, how do you make sure your email pitch is on point? Here are 5 best practices to follow:
- Your subject line matters – We once spoke with a reporter at CBS News and he told us, he receives more than 800 pitches a day, opens 7 of them and responds to 3. What catches his attention? A spot-on headline. Your subject line should highlight your pitch, tell of location and what you’re offering. Never start a pitch with “re:” and or “fwd:”. One of our most popular pitch subjects that received a lot of media attention was, “A potential story about being embarrassed”. We used that as a way to pitch a story on urinary incontinence for our client who was a urologist.
- Don’t “bcc” – Send your email pitch to the reporter in the “to:” field of your email. Mass email pitching is a surefire way of making reporters pass over your email. And more importantly, each email you send should be tailored to the reporter you’re sending it to. Use their name, comment on a recent article, suggest why this would be interesting to them as it pertains to their beat, show, blog. Show them you’ve done your due diligence and know who they are and that’s why you’re reaching out.
- Be concise and show value – Let the reporter know right away what you’re pitching and what you can offer. Is it visual, funny, quirky? Can it be sampled or previewed? Who is available to speak with them? Is it embargoed information or even better, is it an exclusive? Answering all of these for the reporter can set your pitch apart from the rest.
- Save the attachment – Send your pitch in the body of your email with no attachments. If the reporter is interested, then offer to send over supporting information. No need to clog anyone’s email with large attachments before you know if they even need/want them.
- Follow up – At HJMT we follow up with our media contacts up to 5 times to see if they are interested. Since reporters receive so many emails a day, it’s our job to remind them about our pitch and what makes it worthwhile of their time. We do so in a nice way, but following up is important!
Need help pitching a story? HJMT has been working with the media for more than 25 years. They trust us and know we offer reliable and informative sources/story ideas. Call us today to find out how we can help spread your news and gain you the attention your business deserves!