10 Tips To Get Your Pitch Read With Otter PR’s Mark Kaley
10 Tips To Get Your Pitch Read: Otter PR: As a publicist, pitching can often seem like screaming into the void. You can send countless emails to any number of outlets, but still be left wondering why you aren’t getting as many responses. However, if you change your approach to pitching, you might find that journalists are more willing to read your pitch, leading to more overall successes for your clients.
1. PR is little more than sales
One of the ways that you can make public relations much easier is by recognizing that it is essentially a sales practice. You are selling your client to a publication. Consider the factors that make your client an expert on the topic at hand. Why does that outlet need to talk with them? What value does your client offer to the outlet beyond what their journalists already know? If you approach PR from a sales perspective like this, you will recognize the transactional nature of the business and be able to pitch your client much more effectively.
2. Be relevant
One way to get some solid placements for your clients is to be relevant with your pitches. Old news is just that — old; no one wants to talk about it anymore. But if your client can talk about or comment on something breaking in present news cycles, journalists will undeniably be looking for experts to supplement or be the focus of their articles. Staying updated on trending topics and breaking news can help bring your client into the conversation in ways that will boost their legitimacy and profile.
3. Use the subject line well
The subject line is the first thing that a journalist will see in your email, so you need to make it count. Your subject line should be short, catchy, captivating, and — most of all — specific. Tell the outlet upfront what you have to offer: an interview, article, comments, et cetera. That way, the publication knows what you are pitching, and you can rest assured that if what you have to offer isn’t what they are looking for, you aren’t wasting their time or your own.
4. Greet them nicely
It may seem like a small step, but having a friendly greeting at the beginning of your pitch can go a long way in creating rapport with a publication. Journalists know that you are pitching dozens or more outlets on the same person and topic. Anything you can do to make the process seem more personal, even as simple as addressing them by name, rather than “to whom it may concern” or “dear journalist,” could make the difference between someone reading your email or deleting it as just another generic pitch.
5. Clear Call to Action
The first thing that you need to do in the body of your pitch is issue a clear call to action: “Would you like to speak with [your client], an expert on [expertise] about [the topic of your pitch]?” Don’t dance around what you are offering to the journalist. If you’re not clear that you are offering an interview, they might think that your email is just a press release and ignore it. Additionally, always be sure to include links to your client’s company and/or personal website, as well as their LinkedIn, if possible.
6. Be concise
No one wants to read long emails that are just a mass of text. Keep your emails short, sweet, and to the point; 200 words should be the maximum that you aim for, including your email’s greeting and signature. Anything over that, and you risk losing the attention of the person you are pitching to. Breaking up your message into paragraphs and bullet points can also help make the email much less intimidating to read. Other tricks, like bolding specific words, can ensure that you draw attention to important keywords.
7. Strategically use bullet points
Bullet points are your best friend in pitch emails. Use bullet points to identify the topics about which your client can be interviewed or comment for a potential article. The ideal amount of these bullet points is four, all bolded and using one to four words if possible. This can efficiently communicate your client’s expertise, and give the publication a clearer idea of what value this opportunity may offer them and their audience of readers.
8. Identify your client’s value
While your pitch can do a lot in making your client out to be a legitimate expert in the field, you should reinforce it with every chance you get. Mention any awards or qualifications your client has that make them particularly suited for an expert interview for a specific publication. Including highlights from their media resume is also a good idea. If your client has appeared in other top-tier publications, journalists will know that they are dealing with someone who is bonafide and credible.
9. Have a winning closer
Returning to the mention of PR as a function of sales, the most important part of any sales pitch is the close. Once you’ve performed all of the aforementioned steps in your pitch, you need to be able to seal the deal.
A solid closer to your pitch can secure the placement for your client. This is your opportunity to reinforce your client’s value and expertise, reminding the outlet of why they should want to feature your client. At this point, you should double down on the call to action. You need coverage for your client, but outlets also need stories to cover. It’s a mutually-beneficial arrangement, and you must treat it as such.
10. Include bios for the company and the individual
After your signature, include information about your client and their company. These bios should be well-written, succinct, and compelling. Tell the story of your client and what they have created in just a few words, taking care to focus on the things that make them unique and different. Furthermore, take this time to highlight a few of your client’s past successes, reminding the outlet why your client is someone “newsworthy.” Lastly, don’t forget to add your client’s headshot above the bio so the reporter can put a face to the name.
The biggest things you can do to help get your pitch read by more outlets are identifying what your client has to offer the publication, keeping things short and to the point, and offering a clear call to action. Your goal is to get responses from journalists, so you need to give them a reason to respond. If you can establish your client as an expert and find a way for them to make their knowledge useful, the answers will start rolling in.
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