Getting the Pitch Right…

An effective pitch email has a huge influence on whether you gain valuable coverage for your press release or not. Knowing how to pitch your press releases to the media is an art which can reap bountiful rewards. It is a skill which may take some time to develop but investing the effort can be a game changer for you and your business.

Building relationships and trust are key factors to gaining acknowledgment of your emails. However, there are other, quicker ways in which you can dictate how an editor will react to your press release.

Before you even start typing out your covering message, have you thought about; visual formatting, tone of voice, or even the quality of your content? If not, it’s time to change tactics.

Editors have very little time and receive dozens of press releases every day, so we should be respectful of this. Yours is just one waiting in a queue to be read and either snapped up or discarded. You have just a couple of seconds of their valuable time in which to convince them to run your story. Be concise, straightforward and to the point.

Therefore, it is essential that you do all you can to capture their attention and stand out from the crowd. If you have not done that by the time they finish reading the headline and the first few sentences, the likelihood is you have failed, and your release is with the others-  in the delete basket.

Editors rarely read to the end of a press release – but they will if you pitch it properly in your email.

First of all, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the email something you would want to receive?

Think about it- is the email something you have thrown together in just a couple of minutes? Does it sound too much like a sales pitch? Your email copy is as important as the press release, take the opportunity to present your content in a polished and formatted way which really grasps the journalist’s interest.

  • Have you addressed the intended recipient?

Be authentic. Personalising your emails with a contact name or magazine title can not only increase your email open rate, but also establish trust and good relationships for the future. Tailoring your email highlighting how your product fits with the publication, story or subject will show them value and will encourage them to read on and cover your story. You should also make sure that your news is relevant to each contact you send to in order to avoid spamming inboxes.

  • Is the subject line compelling?

Did you know that 47% of people decide whether to open an email based on just the subject line alone? Highlight your company name and aim to capture their attention.

  • Have you included a teaser of the press release in the main body copy?

Ultimately the journalist is looking for relevant and news worthy stories. Let them know what to expect prior to opening your attachment with an interesting short summary. Be honest, and be upfront with what you are asking for, do we want them to cover the press release? Would we like them to test a product sample? Do we want a briefing call? – this will help the journalist understand your expectations straight away.

  • Are all of your attachments you wanted to include really attached?

Don’t forget to attach that supporting image, or even your press release! Forgetting to do so could seriously damage your reputation.

Finally, let the recipient read and digest the information you’ve just given them. Picking up the phone minutes or even seconds later and asking if they received your email will only cause irritation.

In summary, how you deliver your press releases is the make or break of your news. Take the opportunity to make your pitch the best it can be before you hit that almighty send button!

At Napier, we specialise in media relations and our long-standing relationships enable us to craft great pitches to increase your news coverage, whilst delivering your key messages. To read more tips about PR in Europe, take a look at our ‘Guide to Tech PR in Europe’.