3 things editors look for in PR pitches

Journalists are overwhelmed with scores of story offerings a day. Follow these approaches—suggested by editors in a recent survey—to make sure yours stand out.

Top-tier journalists field over 100 PR pitches a day, according to a Fractl survey of editors at 500 online publishing sites. That translates to an astounding 26,000 pitches a year—per journalist.

How do you break through the clutter? Here are three suggestions based on the survey responses:

1. Collaborate with editors on assets. Seventy percent of editors prefer being afforded the opportunity to collaborate rather than being pitched a finished asset.

Once you have an idea for your next campaign, reach out to an editor who you’d like to place your content, and ask them what type of asset they’d prefer,” suggests Andrea Lehr, brand manager at Fractl.

Some editors prefer static assets such as this simple infographic. Others prefer more interactive content like Fractl’s “Your Face as an Alcoholic” dynamic asset, which includes a quiz and moving images.

Explore Addiction | Learn More about Drug Rehab

​Keep interested editors in the loop while you produce the desired piece of content. Offer the editor a peek at the asset halfway through completion. “This is a great tactic to see if there are any questions they have that still are unanswered,” says Lehr.

Register for PR Daily’s Nov. 12 PR University webinar “The Science of Pitching the Press: New Study, Publishers Reveal Secrets of Tripling Coverage” to ensure that every email, social media and phone pitch you craft turns heads and earns high-profile coverage.

2. Pitch exclusive research. Nearly 40 percent of editors say the perfect piece of content includes exclusive research.

“Mention that your research is exclusive in the subject line of your email pitch,” says Lehr. “If you’re offering an editor the exclusive, you’ll also want to mention that in the call to action at the close of your pitch.”

Lehr did precisely that with this subject line: “Study: In 11 U.S. cities, more than 75% of the city is in a drug-free zone [Exclusive]”

The resulting article in Mic mentioned that the research was released exclusively to the outlet, and Lehr’s subject line was used verbatim in the fourth sentence.

3. Keep emails short, and send them early. Most editors—about 70 percent—want to see your pitch in their inbox first thing in the morning.

“Most email platforms offer some sort of delayed-send option—so use it to your advantage,” says Lehr. Keep time zones in mind, he adds. You don’t want an email to end up in one person’s inbox at 8 a.m. and in another’s at 4 a.m.

Generally, people are settling into their routines in the morning, so keep your pitches to 200 words or fewer. “Most people don’t want to spend their mornings reading lengthy emails,” says Lehr.

An email pitch for exclusive research or an in-depth study doesn’t have to be long just because the material is complicated. Keep it short by listing the name of the study, describing the methodology in two sentences and concluding with three bullets summarizing key points.

Here’s an example of an email pitch from Lehr that did precisely this:

The Efficacy of Inbound vs. Outbound“: Compares the efficacy of inbound tactics vs more traditional efforts. Through a two-part study, we surveyed more than 1,000 individuals about the strategies they respond to and then took a closer look at what $10,000 could buy you across each of these channels. Key findings:

  • “Consumers value the opinions of others: Customer reviews impact purchase decisions 101% more than company social media posts.
  • “Be sure you own your brand’s digital presence beyond social platforms: 77 percent of consumers are positively influenced by a simple online query when considering which product to buy.
  • “Although consumers are still influenced by outbound tactics like direct mailers, their reach can cost 200% more than inbound tactics.”

These techniques can help editors embrace your pitch and provide coverage for your client.

Brian Pittman is a Ragan Communications consultant and webinar manager for PR Daily’s PR University. Andrea Lehr, a leading brand relations manager at Fractl, and Tom Hallman, a Pulitzer Prize winner and senior editor at The Oregonian, will share more media pitching insights on Nov. 12 in the PR University webinar, The Science of Pitching the Press: New Study, Publishers Reveal Secrets of Tripling Coverage.

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Topics: PR

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