The best way to get journalists and bloggers to pay attention to you is by cultivating a relationship with them over time. With that being said, even if you’re new to the game and don’t have any established relationships with reporters yet, you can still pitch like a PR pro. I’ll give you some tips in this post that will help you get journalists to pay attention and respond to your pitches.
No one likes spam. Especially journalists who are literally confronted with thousands of emails in their inbox. A sure way to get your pitch ignored is to send a canned carbon copy pitch to every journalist and blogger. If you do this your success rate will go way… way… down. The words I want anyone reading this article to have chiseled into the granite foundations of their memory are “Personalize It.”
The first step to personalizing your pitch is to go to the journalist or bloggers site and read about them. Find out what they are interested in, what they write about, how they write and even what their hobbies are and make sure to read an article or post that they’ve written.
If they are a fit for what your trying to pitch it’s time to begin writing your email.
- Begin by addressing them by name in the email. For example, a Hi Mark or Hello Mr. Smith is a great way to start off. Addressing them by name will help them realize that you haven’t sent them a canned pitch and it’s worth their time to read your email.
- Introduce yourself. Share your name and what you do. If you have a hobby in common with them or a shared interest be sure to include it when introducing yourself so that they see you as another human being like them and not simply a faceless robot sending out email after email.
- Write the way they do. If they are very formal in their writing tone make sure that you use a formal tone in your pitch, on the other hand if they use a casual tone make sure you use a casual tone in your pitch. Doing this will help your pitch seem more natural to them.
- Mention an article or post of theirs they’ve written that is written about a similar topic to the one your pitching them. Point out something specific that you liked about it. Everyone needs a compliment now and then, especially journalists who can feel overworked and underappreciated.
- Now explain why your product or idea would be interesting to their readers and share how it would benefit their readers.
- Next comes the call to action. Make it informal and to the point. For example, “we’d like to send you out some product to review. Tell me what you think.”
- Now write the email subject line. This is actually the most important part of the pitch. You should experiment with different subject lines until you find the one that gets you the most results. I usually like to use a subject line like this, “Mark, tell me what you think.” It catches their eye by using their name and it asks them for advice. Most journalists love to give advice.
- Send your pitch on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Even journalists have a social life and on Fridays they’re itching to start their weekend. Monday’s are bad too. Does anyone like them? The answer is no, no one like Mondays, not even journalists. You don’t want to send your pitch on a Monday when the person getting it is likely to be in a bad mood. It’s also a good idea to avoid late afternoon. People are much less likely to respond to your pitch when they are about ready to head home for the day.
- Try to avoid any unnecessary links or pictures. It makes your email look spammy to the reader and to Gmail. You want to make sure your email gets into the Personal folder and not the Social or Promotions folder.
- Avoid buzzwords. Words like “Free” or “Limited Time Only” make your email impersonal and Gmail flags emails that use lots of buzzwords as spam.
- Make sure the email is short enough to read without scrolling. Journalists don’t have a lot of time and they want you to get to the point
If you’d like an example of a successful pitch, here’s a pitch email that I sent to the head editor of three national magazines. The editor got back to us the same day and we sent him some of our clients products to review.
Hi Mr. [blank],
My name is Winston Behle, I’m a long time motorcycle rider, a writer and a representative of Revision.
I liked your review of Vanson’s leather jackets. I really liked a couple of your lines, specifically, “Yes, most marriages will fail before a Vanson jacket does” and “a single tanned garment that could save your life and look good doing so.” Funny, and it gets the point across.
I think we have a product your readers would also be interested in you reviewing. Revision makes eyewear that is literally bulletproof. Our ballistic sunglasses and goggles were originally built for the military but let’s face it motorcyclists have been using military eyewear for years like aviator glasses and goggles for example. We are now offering our bulletproof eyewear to riders who are sick of dangerous rocks and debris that get shot at them from passing cars and trucks. They are also photochromatic and the tint adjusts depending on the lighting conditions so you can be protected in style day or night.
Here’s a couple pics.
We’d love to send you a pair or two to test out and review.
Let me know what you think.
A fellow rider,