Garnering media coverage for our clients is our number one goal as PR pros, meaning that standing out from the pack when pitching is crucial. While many people might think it’s as easy as sending an email, this could not be further from the truth. You must first establish a good rapport with the reporter and convince them that your news is worth publishing. Learn something from us.
Do Your Homework and Make It Personal
Sure, you did the research to determine which outlets and publications are the best fit for your story, but did you research which reporters cover your topic? While you may have several contacts at a particular publication, take a minute to decide who is your best source for getting your client published. For example, you wouldn’t send information about a new restaurant opening to an editor that only covers local politics. Not only would your story not be published, but you’d likely sour your relationship with that contact for not doing your research.
In a sea of “To whom it may concern,” it’s refreshing for reporters to see that someone took the time to become familiar with their name and work, so when it comes time to write the pitch, take the opportunity to let the reporter know. Address them by name and reference similar stories they may have written, indicating why you think they will be interested in your story and, more importantly, what you have to offer their readers.
Timing is Key
According to a recent study on pitching effectiveness released by Tel Aviv-based PR productivity platform Propel, Tuesday is the best day to pitch news to the media. The study found that on Tuesday’s when reporters were settled into their work week after the weekend, 62 percent of people opened the pitches they were emailed. Wednesday followed closely behind as the second best day to send pitches with 59 percent of recipients opening email pitches. As the week continued, pitching effectiveness declines as fewer people opened incoming mail from outsiders. Keep this in mind next time you want to pitch something out on a Friday afternoon!
Get To The Point
Short and concise is always the way to go in PR, since in most cases the story you are pitching is not going to be the most important email that reporter has ever received.
It begins with the subject line, and according to a study done by Marketo, six or seven words is the sweet spot for having your emails opened. When you can, the study also found that subject lines that included numbers were a great way to catch attention because statistics are easy for our brains to process.
Then, move into the email. After the introduction, quickly and concisely tell the reporter why you are reaching out to him/her.
“No one likes to read an overly-long email. Summarize the press release in a few sentences. Think of it as an extended headline. Reporters are busy, give them the basics up front, but don’t overwhelm them with details,” said Cooper Koch, Principal of Cooper Smith Agency.
Focus on Storytelling, Not Selling
Even if your story is interesting and newsworthy, you lose credibility when you appear too sales-y. PR Daily advises remaining personable by avoiding too much jargon and confusing corporate buzzwords and focus heavily on the story. Sell the story, not the product.
“Ultimately our job as PR professionals is to get our clients’ stories told,” said Arden Hensarling, Managing Director of Cooper Smith Agency. “It’s imperative for us to make sure reporters find that it is a story worth telling.”