Getting positive press is an important part of any company's marketing strategy. One way to get your business noticed by the media is to reach out to journalists themselves. Getting on an authoritative journalist's or blogger's radar can be an extremely powerful boon to your marketing efforts. A good word from a well-regarded voice is golden marketing capital.
The fact is, most journalists work online these days so you'll want to contact them via email. An email pitch differs than a pitch delivered by phone or even by mail. Because there are a plethora of people wanting to gain attention on the Internet, you want to employ a strategy that is extremely professional, courteous, targeted, interest-picquing but most of all, concise.
When pitching journalists and bloggers about your business, remember to:
- Do your research. Review the news media carefully and begin to identify reporters who might be interested in writing about you or your company. Don't waste your time or the journalist's by sending pitches to those who aren't interested. Discover who writes about what your business offers and zero in on those.
- Keep your emails brief. A press release sent by email needs to be more condensed and information-driven than paper releases. Make sure the title of your release is clear and concise and that the first sentence of your release provides the highlights of the rest of the release, including the most important facts and figures.
- Create a clear subject for the email. Start off your subject with PITCH or RELEASE then include a very brief statement that encapsulates the pitch or release you are sending in your email. By identifying what you are sending, your email is more likely to be read, particularly by a journalist who does not recognize your name or email address.
- Keep your email straightforward and concise. Make it straight to the point - show respect by not wasting their time with "fluff." Avoid using fancy or colored fonts - they are distracting and hard to read. In your brief pitch, ask if the writer would like to see a photograph or receive additional materials. Better yet, include links in your email that leads to the press release, a bio or fact sheet, and photographs.
- Get to know the journalists. Once you start to pitch reporters, keep track of who you are pitching. Even if they don't write about everything you send, if your pitches are consistently interesting, well-presented and appropriate to their "beat" they'll begin to recognize them as yours when they come in and be more likely to give them a read. The more times they read you, the greater the chances they'll eventually write about you.
- Don't Over-pitch. If you've pitched a journalist once, make note of their response before pitching again. Did they not respond? Some might be too busy so don't hold that against them. Did they respond but basically said "thanks, but no thanks." If they didn't give you details, it is appropriate to reply to ask why not. But don't keep pitching if the answer is no. Rethink your pitch. There's a fine line between being persistent and being a pest so be thoughtful.
In PR, you are always looking for that opening into a reporter's mind - that je ne c'est quoi that will make this pitch memorable or relevant to this individual. How can it stand out from the rest?
Writers on deadline are not looking for those dazzling, lengthy pitches with cute email subjects and a lot of attached materials. They are also often not looking for a person to interview who does not fit their immediate needs.
What most reporters are looking for is a brief pitch that answers who, what, when, where and how in an easy-to-read format with relevant and useful information. The perfect email pitch also makes reference to or links to additional material. While it sounds daunting, filling that tall order could lead some great press for you and your company.
What is your email pitch strategy?
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