When I was starting out in PR more than a decade ago, I shared a pitch email that I drafted for a reporter with my boss for her feedback. She took one glance, looked at me, and gave me the simplest, yet best advice of my career: “You need to go on a DIET! A word diet! Cut it down. Cut it short. Get to the point. Reporters will not read long pitches.”
As a newbie in PR, I was slightly taken aback and thought “but wouldn’t ALL of the information upfront be appreciated by reporters?” As I put this in practice during the years, I realized I could succinctly pitch reporters AND also provide them exactly what they needed.
While it’s not an exact science and to each pitch its own, there are several factors to consider when pitching reporters. Here, I share some of my top tips that can increase the likelihood of your pitch being read.
1. Edit and re-edit your pitch emails before you send them. Make sure you catch all grammatical errors and have the correct consistent tone throughout the whole piece. Nothing is worse than having different tones throughout your pitch that can potentially confuse the reporter and diminish your credibility.
2. Cut the fluff. If a sentence makes sense without certain words delete them. Get to the point. When it comes to a pitch, it’s facts only. Don’t add filler words to make your work seem longer than it should be.
3. Less is more. And I mean that! Opening up a long email is DAUNTING and can almost certainly guarantee an immediate deletion. Keep it short, crisp, and attention grabbing and it will instantly give value. Consider formatting hacks like quick bullets to highlight the most important information too.
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4. Lay off excessive punctuation. Exclamation points, emojis, or capitalizing words to emphasize importance can be off-putting and frankly, just too cutesy. Your writing should naturally excite your readers. Your pitch is a sample of your writing style, so make it clear, concise, and typo-free.
5. Make it personal. Throw some personality and connection into your writing and extra attention will be brought to your pitch. Truly genuine personalization is a great way to get noticed, but make sure it’s relevant and not simply added in so it seems like you did your research.
Pitching to the media is not as complicated, daunting, or intimidating as you may think—members of the media rely on pitches to help feed their news cycle and content. Follow these tips as you craft your next pitch and gauge the response rate versus past tactics.