In Public Relations, you are only as good as your pitch. Drafting, creating, and sending out content and ideas to the media is a process that becomes routine throughout your career. But why is it a part of the job that public relations professionals continue to struggle with? Creating the “perfect pitch” is near impossible. But what makes a pitch good enough to stand out in an overloaded inbox, or more so, lead to a feature in a top media outlet?
It Starts and Ends with the Subject Line
One of the most important aspects of a pitch comes before a journalist even opens your email: the subject line. You may have written an amazing pitch, but without an eye-catching subject your email will be disregarded. This does not mean to create “click bait” and write something completely unrelated to your article idea. Instead, draw the writer in with an interesting phrase or question related to your content that will make them stop, think, and want to open up your pitch.
Keep It Short and Sweet
The fast-paced world of Public Relations is almost a breeze compared to the schedule of a journalist. Media gurus, whether they be reporters, editors, producers, and now even influencers, are constantly pressed for time. While scrolling through overwhelming amounts of inquiries in their inbox, they do not want to read a novel about your client. Provide them with a quick summary of what they need to know. What makes your client stand out? Why should this specific journalist feature them in their next piece? Make your pitch personal to the writer and get straight to the point, while also adding your personality and flair in between the lines.
Timing is Everything
Aside from writing strategies and pitch layout, it is essential that your email gets into a writer’s inbox at the perfect time. According to Muck Rack’s 2017 survey, 64% of journalists prefer to be pitched before 11 a.m. It isn’t necessarily beneficial to send out a pitch in the evening while writers are leaving their desks and wrapping up assignments to make a deadline. If you have completed your pitch near the end of day, it would be the best decision for you and your client to wait until the morning to send it. This will avoid getting lost between the dozens of emails from the evening that writers then have to sort through (or more likely, delete) in the morning.
Go Beyond the Email
Are you not getting responses to your pitch emails? There are now more ways than ever to reach out to the media. With social media platforms, you can Tweet, Facebook message, and even comment on Instagram posts of the individuals you are trying to pitch. These small ways will assist in getting noticed outside of the inbox. And when in doubt, never be afraid to pick up the phone. Although this may seem “old fashioned,” many writers appreciate the personalization of a simple phone call. Chatting with them automatically makes you stand out from other public relations professionals who continue to flood inboxes with follow up emails.
Pitching methods will continue to evolve over time as means of communication and new media develop. However, the basics will continue to remain the same. While a straight forward pitch and a catchy subject line sent at the perfect time does not 100% guarantee a placement for your client; these methods will definitely increase the odds.