Let’s face it, crafting the perfect pitch is no easy task, and when it comes to the world of public relations, you need to do whatever you can to stand out from the crowd. Journalists are bombarded with hundreds of pitches a day and unless you’ve been lucky enough to establish a personal relationship with the contact, you will likely be left unanswered. But, on the rare occasion your email actually gets opened (Mailtrack is a great tool that can be used to see if your email has been seen, and links have been clicked) it is crucial to have done your research and have everything included in your pitch.
Here are 5 things to always include in your pitch to maximize your success:
- Make it personal
There is nothing worse than receiving an email that has been clearly sent as a mail merge to hundreds of other recipients. Taking the time to do your due diligence, and go to the publication’s masthead to personally craft each email to the correct individual will make all the difference.
If you cannot seem to find the correct contact on the website, don’t stop there! An awesome tool called Skrapp can be used to support your prospecting.
Skrapp can be added very simply as a chrome extension and will help you locate the email address of specific contacts through LinkedIn. Once you’ve done your due diligence and located the correct contact and email address, be sure to address the email correctly to that recipient, and thoughtfully construct an opening line that shows you’ve done your research!
- Know your audience
Let’s say your client would absolutely love to be featured in the Globe and Mail- I mean who wouldn’t right? You have crafted the perfect pitch and plan to distribute it to a number of outlets. But does that mean that this pitch is relevant to every single writer from the publication? Definitely not! Finding a writer at the Globe and Mail is one thing, but finding the writer that would actually be interested in what you’re pitching, is a whole other ballgame. There are a number of ways you can get further insight into what your contact would actually like to be pitched.
First off, if you are fortunate enough to have access to CISION, their media database provides a “pitching profile” that gives context like what types of content that media contact covers, and even will tell you when and how they prefer to be pitched! This means, if you were planning on giving the media contact a call, check their pitching profile first! Maybe they have provided a specific time of day that they prefer to be contacted.
Let’s also not forget about the power of social media. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, all provide additional lenses through which we can discover a little more about who we are pitching to, and may be another channel through which you attempt to contact the journalist.
- Know their audience
This may seem like an obvious statement, however, it is unbelievable how often journalists will be pitched content that they have in fact actually already covered! Do you think they want to interview John Smith about his love for bananas if they already covered that same story a couple months ago? No way! Do your research and know they already covered this.
Now, this can also be used as a great introduction. Maybe comment on how much you enjoyed their article and how John Smith’s love for bananas was very insightful! Even better, use this reference of their past work as a segway for you to begin your pitch. For example, “I absolutely loved your article about John Smith’s love for bananas and thought you may be interested in a recent report on bananas that was recently released by my client”. Then boom, journalist “X” is now intrigued and impressed. You’ve done your research, you know they wrote about bananas, and you know the research you are pitching about bananas is relevant to this journalist and has far more of a likelihood of being picked up!
- Include relevant links
In an effort to keep your pitch as concise and simple to read as possible, always hyperlink any relevant links within the body of your email. Links allow the journalist to read the body of the email quickly, and then if they are compelled to learn more, they will click the links to understand your pitch further.
Mailtrack will actually track not only when and how often an email is read, but will also track when a link is clicked. This means you will gain further insight into how interested the journalist is in your pitch. Some links you should always include would be the link to the client’s website or landing page, and any other reports that you are referencing within your pitch.
- Keep it brief but informative
The perfect pitch is informative, yet simple and concise. It shows you’ve taken the time to personalize the pitch, and give reason as to why it is relevant to the journalist you are pitching. Avoid a vague pitch that gives very little insight to even what you are even suggesting. A journalist needs to know the Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Give them this, and you’ve provided the tools needed for them to determine whether they care to cover your story.
That covers it all. And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to include a cute dog photo in your pitch, because I mean, who doesn’t love that? (unless they’re a cat person…so do your research!)