PR pros must fight to get their pitch noticed—much less considered.
For every reporter and journalist, there are six PR professionals, trying to get in front of them and establish relationships. The marketplace of competing stories is more saturated than ever.
When you are vying to be heard, it’s a difficult feat to make sure your pitch rises above the rest, especially since reporters receive up to 100 pitches per day. Here are three actionable tips to help you slice through the sea of pitches and establish credibility, value—and ultimately result in a story.
1. Write better subject lines.
If your email subject doesn’t draw enough interest or make a big enough impact, your pitch will end up in the abyss that is the inbox trash can without even being opened.
You could send a reporter the fantastic pitch and it might be a perfect fit for the outlet, but if your email isn’t opened due to a poorly written subject line, all of that work is worthless. Make sure your email subject line commands attention, and more importantly triggers an open.
A few tips to ensure this crucial first step is achieved:
- Keep your subject line short, sweet and direct.
- Avoid capitalization, which screams “promotional offer.” You can also throw in a cleverly placed emoji if it will help draw attention and it relates to your pitch. Don’t just throw in a smiley face because you can.
- Highlight your client in the subject line if it will command attention, as well as their outlet.
Remember, your email is going to be sitting in an overflowing inbox surrounded by other pitches. Make sure it will command attention over the rest of the noise and clutter.
2. Focus on a pain point—and hit it hard.
Journalists can immediately tell if you’ve been lazy and have sent the exact same pitch to 50 reporters. If you are leading with a launch, company announcement, tips or anything else that reeks of advertisement you are going to be severely disappointed with your results.
Your response rate on efforts like this will be minimal at best, and you certainly won’t be landing placements anywhere worth bragging about. Instead, you should highlight a problem—a pain point—and explain why your client is the solution to that problem. If you can use data and statistics to back up your claim, even better.
Imagine that your client is a supplement company and they are launching a new weight loss product that they have had in development for 18 months. Naturally, they want you to deliver top media placements.
What pitch angle is going to be more effective as a subject line?
- “XYZ Nutrition Announces New Weight Loss Product”
- “Average Fat Loss of 11 Pounds in 30 Days – Clinical Studies Reveal 😱🎉”
The first pitch is too generic and will be deleted, let alone read. The second one, though, piques interest. You have a stat that is impressive, and you mention it’s backed by clinical studies, which adds to the credibility.
The emoji highlights the shock as well as excitement, emphasizing your main message. The second approach is more likely to get your email opened—at which point you will need to frame your client as being worthy of press.
3. Be relentless, and engage across multiple touch points.
An overwhelming majority of PR professionals will attempt to contact a reporter or journalist one or two times by email, and then give up, moving onto another target if they don’t receive a favorable response.
You have to be relentless and engage across multiple channels in order to build a relationship that leads to placements and press mentions.
In addition to email outreach, you should be connecting with your targets on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or wherever they are active. Don’t just follow them; ensure you are genuinely engaging with their content. Reply to their posts, join the conversation and make your interest in their work evident.
This helps them become familiar with you and increases the chance of your next email catching their attention, simply because they remember your name. This doesn’t happen overnight, but once that connection is made it will make all future pitching much easier once that initial barrier is removed.
A less-common tactic is to pick up the phone. In an age where emails and text messages are the norm, a phone call might be the way you stand out. It takes extra effort beyond just an email to capture a journalists’ attention in today’s oversaturated media environment. By implementing these tips, you’re well on your way to setting yourself up for PR success.