Many people think that you can get media coverage simply by blasting out a press release to every journalist under the sun. While you can get coverage in this way, it presents problems. In the pitch email examples that follow, experts address three key points:
First, people will begin to ignore your emails if they are not relevant. You want to make sure your emails stand out and the recipients don’t skip over them.
Second, they will be less likely to cover you or your company if they don’t feel special in some way. Reporters like to know that they have some level of exclusivity whenever possible. This could mean early access to a data story or other relevant information when possible (generally, acceptable for private companies and individuals but not for public companies under embargo).
Third, you can’t build relationships with email blasts in the same way you can with personalized pitches to writers, bookers, and others. Also keep in mind that although publishing a press release on the news wire is a good practice, it’s really secondary to the individual pitching you do. With that in mind, we’ve interviewed numerous experts on how they choose to pitch journalists. Take a look at their pitch email examples below.
- Drop a Mention of the Reporter’s Work
- Include an “Also Featured in” Section
- Optimize Pre-header Text
- State the Newsworthy Angle
- Sum It Up in Ten Words
- Focus on the Why
- Make It Clear and Concise
- Send Timely Story Pitches
- Balance Formality With Friendliness
- Quote Real People
- Personalize It for Each Reporter
- Strive to Send a Print-ready Submission
- Make Your Email Subject Line a Sample Headline
- Use Your Branded Email!
Drop a Mention of the Reporter’s Work
If you want your email to be more than just another one in the reporter’s flooded inbox, you have to do something that immediately catches their attention. A guaranteed way to do this is to drop a mention of the reporter’s work.
Whether it’s a recent piece that’s been doing the rounds lately or an older one that the reporter is well-known for, mentioning one of their works is the easiest way to ensure they read your email and even remember it. Also, considering your attention to detail, they will know that you have something valuable to offer.
Include an “Also Featured in” Section
While you’re pitching to reporters, make sure you include a section that highlights other media and press where you’ve been mentioned. Think of it as an “also seen in” section.
If reporters see that you have been quoted in reputable articles or publications, it will give you more credibility. Reporters want to work with substantial sources, and if you help them see your previous media exposure, it will increase the likelihood that they will respond to you.
Optimize Pre-header Text
The key to crafting a successful pitch email is to make sure it gets noticed by the intended recipient. One great way of accomplishing this is optimizing the pre-header text, the first few lines of your message appearing in an inbox.
Pre-header text can be leveraged to provide additional information about your company and entice recipients into opening the message itself:
- Use language that’s engaging and actionable while being concise.
- Include specific details on what you want from the reporter, so they don’t have to guess or look elsewhere for more information.
- Avoid long sentences, as this will only clutter up your pre-header text and may be off-putting for some people who prefer shorter messages.
In addition, consider using A/B testing when crafting these emails so you can compare various pieces of content against each other until you identify what often gets opened by reporters to maximize response rates over time.
State the Newsworthy Angle
One tip for crafting a pitch email to reporters about your company is to make sure you clearly state the newsworthy angle or story that your company offers. This could be a new product launch, a major milestone or achievement, or a unique industry insight or trend that your company has uncovered.
By highlighting the specific angle or story that your company offers, you can help the reporter understand why your company is worth covering and how it fits into their beat or area of expertise. Additionally, make sure to be concise and to the point in your email and to include any relevant links or attachments that can support your story.
Sum It Up in Ten Words
It’s important to remember that journalists receive over 1,000 emails daily, so if your subject line and introduction don’t catch their attention, I believe they probably won’t even consider featuring them. The 10-word rule comes into play here.
Consider whether you could describe this campaign in 10 words or fewer. If you cannot do so, consider re-angling your pitch. Put yourself in the position of a journalist; you receive a lot of emails, so your awareness will not be high. An email needs to catch your attention right away and essentially provide you with a headline in a matter of seconds. Summarize in only 10 words.
Focus on the Why
I have recently sent many pitches to reporters, and one thing I learned is to highlight WHY they should cover your story. This is crucial, as no one wants to cover a story that doesn’t add value to their audience or get them recognition from their editor. So, if you want to stand out, highlight what’s so interesting about the story that they can’t resist but publish.
Make It Clear and Concise
The first thing I would say is that it’s important to be clear and concise. You want to make sure your pitch email is short and sweet so that reporters can get the most out of it. The more detail you pack in, the longer it will take for them to read through it.
I also recommend using bullet points instead of paragraphs—they’re easier on the eyes! And if possible, try to use images or videos in your pitch emails. It makes them seem more interesting and appealing to potential customers or clients, who will be more likely to open them if they’re interested in what you offer.
Send Timely Story Pitches
Your pitch has a much higher chance of being accepted if it applies to something happening in society. Reporters do pitch ideas to their editors that aren’t already in the headlines, but depending on the news cycle, those may get bumped for more pressing stories. If your pitch slots in well with an existing, timely story, you’ll have a better chance of getting it published.
Balance Formality With Friendliness
Don’t pretend to be someone’s best friend in an email just like you wouldn’t approach someone you’ve never met in the street. Thinking a reporter wants to include your content doesn’t mean they genuinely do; they receive hundreds of emails daily and don’t have time to respond to everyone or run every campaign that is offered to them.
I suggest getting to the point and conveying the story in the most straightforward (but inventive) manner you can. Put your best angle at the start of your outreach email if it’s both newsworthy and fits the journalist’s area of interest. Get to the point quickly.
Quote Real People
Whether it comes from a company executive or a satisfied customer, be sure to include quotes from real people in your pitch. It adds a layer of authenticity and creativity that will catch the eye of any reporter or editor.
By doing this, you’re also taking some of the reporting workload off of a writer’s plate. By sending quality content that is newsworthy and written well, you will drastically boost your chances of getting your message out there.
Personalize It for Each Reporter
Crafting an interesting pitch email can be difficult when you are trying to get a reporter’s attention and convince them that your story is worth writing about.
One tip for crafting a good pitch email is to personalize it for each recipient you’re sending it to. While it may require more work and thought, research the journalist and publication you’re targeting, and customize your message details to best communicate what makes your company relevant and unique to them. This will help make the reporter more interested in your story, as well as help build trusting relationships for future collaborations.
Strive to Send a Print-ready Submission
Make sure your press release is “print-ready.” That means that it’s already crafted the way a reporter would write it, and they can therefore publish it with minimal edits.
Also, be sure to send high-quality images to accompany your news. Visual elements are an essential piece of professional storytelling, and journalists and editors are much more likely to consider running your submission if it includes at least one outstanding photo. When you make it easy for media outlets to run your stuff, your PR efforts are much more likely to be fruitful.
Make Your Email Subject Line a Sample Headline
If your email’s subject line isn’t interesting or at least descriptive, then your pitch is likely to be skipped by most journalists. Give them a sample headline for your story right in your pitch email subject line, and you’ll improve your chances of placing the story.
This approach applies to broadcast news pitches, too, because TV news reports show the story headline on a lower-third banner graphic, often called a chyron.
Use Your Branded Email
While I’m not a reporter, I’m the co-founder of a radio and podcast advertising company, and I get pitches all the time. The first thing I check is the domain after the @ sign. If I see an @gmail.com, I already know I’m not speaking with a qualified lead. My advice to people who reach out to reporters hoping to get a feature is to invest in a branded email.
Try some of these pitch email examples in your next publicity campaign to see if they move the needle. And, be sure to work cross-functionally between your SEO and publicity teams to get the best results possible. If you need some help in this area, drop me a line.