As public relations specialists, we know a lot of preparation and hard work goes into pitching the media. Whether you are pitching a handful or editors about a bylined article or pitching hundreds of reporters about a company announcement, your pitch has to be relevant and appealing to the reader.
B2B technology companies announce news every day, creating a myriad of emails for reporters to dig through. If you’re finding that your pitches are being overlooked, there could be some easily fixable reasons why.
Your subject line is boring.
The first thing a reporter will see is the subject line of an email. If it doesn’t seem interesting to them, there is a good chance they will assume it isn’t important. To avoid this, create a subject line that concisely and directly tells them what the news is about. Don’t make subject lines too long or wordy, about 50 characters or less. Many emails are read via mobile and subject lines that are longer than 50 characters could get cut off when the email first appears.
For example, if your client is launching a new product, include the name of the company and details around the product they are announcing in the subject line. If it is a pre-pitch, include “under embargo” as the first two words of the subject line so the reporter knows it is sensitive information.
Your pitch isn’t personal.
The next most important rule of creating a successful pitch it to make it personal. Make the reporter feel like there’s a specific reason you are pitching them, because there should be. Also, remember that a little small talk doesn’t hurt. Reference an article they wrote or ask them how they are doing before jumping to the point. If the speak with the reporter regularly, don’t let your intro sound like all the other pitches. Base it on past conversations you’ve had with them. Include why you are reaching out to them if it’s something they don’t normally cover, and explain why you think they are a good fit for the topic.
It lacks intriguing details.
Point out the important details of the news you are pitching in the beginning of the correspondence. Only include information that is part of the hook. They can read other details in the press release or ask additional questions in interviews. You want to include just enough information to intrigue the reporter but not divulge all of the details in one email.
It lacks a clear call to action.
Close the pitch with a clear next step. Are you offering an interview with an executive of the company? Are you interested in contributing an article? Do you want the reporter to attend an event? Do they need to agree to an embargo before they receive more information? Don’t leave the reporter confused.
You aren’t following up.
So you have done the leg work and sent out all of your pitches. Don’t stop there. Due to the amount of emails reporters receive, they may have opened your pitch and forgot to respond. Sometimes reporters are out of the office (yes, they do go on vacation, too!). Always follow up a day or two after your initial outreach. This may seem annoying, but many times reporters are thankful when you bring the email to the top of their inbox.
Still no responses after email follow ups? Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. This is often more successful than emailing, especially when you are pitching top-tier publications. Sometimes you get more information from reporters by picking up the phone and having a conversation.
Always keep in mind that reporters are people, too. They don’t want to be bothered with emails or phone calls that are not relevant to what they normally cover. Think of them as your “media buddies” and build a relationship. Once you have created that relationship, pitching media becomes less intimidating and more successful.
At Idea Grove, we use these skills and more to ensure our clients get the media coverage they deserve. Learn more in our public relations case studies.