Media receive dozens and sometimes hundreds of email pitches a day, so that makes getting yours to stand out all the more difficult. Luckily there are three really basic, but essential, tactics that will help you write an effective pitch and get noticed by media. While these tips may seem obvious, they are all too often forgotten about.
1. Write a customized email
Despite how many articles and PR professionals out there warn you not to send an email blast, generic “template-like” emails are still be making their way to reporters inboxes. Make sure each email sent is unique to the recipient – whether it’s indicating what section this would be best for or referencing why this “news” is interesting to their audience, make sure your email is relevant.
2. Get to know the writers
This is the next step in customizing your email. Read their bio, check out their recent tweets, and most definitely familiarize yourself with their recent coverage. If appropriate, reference what you know about them in your pitch email–mention a recent story or make a connection about something you have in common.
3. Be concise
Keep your email as brief as you can while still getting your point across. Remember how many emails a reporter gets a day? Make their lives easier by sending emails that are to the point and easy to digest.
There are several other things to consider when drafting a pitch — writing a good subject line and proof reading are among them. This is a great list of tips to check out from contributing editor John Brandon.
Next week I’m presenting a PR101 session at Paypal’s Start Tank and innovation space to help educate Boston’s upcoming entrepreneurs and equip them with the PR basics. When putting together my presentation, it really hit home that when approaching a PR or communications strategy, the process has to be the same whether its a startup or an enterprise.
I’ve spent the majority of my career supporting big name brands–some household names, some international powerhouses. Toshiba, RIM, Kaspersky Lab, Orbitz, no need to explain who they are. Some may think it’s a breeze supporting these types of corporations and organizations–the media knows them, there’s no breaking down walls to get attention. But what happens when that’s not the case?
After a decade of working with big industry players, I switched gears to support a number of startups–services just coming to market, products first hitting retail, and companies with all of two employees. What have I found? It’s really all the same. At the of the day, it’s about reaching an audience, raising awareness and driving some sort of desired result.
Here’s a quick look at the first steps of building a PR strategy regardless of business size:
- Establish your goals and objectives: What do you want to achieve from PR? Do you want to drive app downloads? Increase web traffic? Make your CEO a recognized industry name? No matter what your goals are for PR, put them on paper, and then you can create a strategy to get you where you want to be.
- Identify your audience: Who do you want to reach? Is it customers, partners, distributors, investors? Before you can determine how to reach them, you need to know and understand who they are.
- Know your key messages: Although your messages should be customized for each audience, a brand at any size needs to create the core messages that will be consistent across all communications (press releases, interviews, pitches, social media posts). What are those key takeaways you want your audience to walk away with?
- Check out the competition: Familiarizing yourself with the competitive landscape will help with creating your messages, differentiating yourself, and identifying what media outlets/channels you want to be included in. The competition can often help inspire your direction (whether it’s following their lead or avoiding their mistakes!).