How to pitch to a journalist and their crowded inbox
Emailing a journalist is currently one of the most effective ways to gain coverage but with 200-300 emails landing in their inbox's each day, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. From personalisation to a killer headline, here are some helpful tips to catch a journalist’s attention and make sure they avoid hitting the delete button on your email this week.
Write a Killer Headline
Your email headline is the first impression, make sure it’s a good one. It needs to be eye-catching and intriguing so they want to find out more - if it doesn't draw them in they probably won’t carry on reading. With that in mind, don't get too carried away with witty headlines, the journalist still needs to be able to understand what it is about. Using key words such as 'small business', 'female entrepreneur' or 'exclusive' lets the journalist know the basics and if it’s relevant to them.
Another way to catch a journalist’s eye is to know the section or category of the publication you are pitching your story to. For example, if you’re pitching for the ‘Small Business Spotlight’ section then use this in your email header. This way the journalist will have a better understanding of where the story should be featured and also makes it easier when searching through their inbox.
Make it Personal
When emailing a journalist simple things such as avoiding generalisation and addressing the right name/publication go a long way, as does a little flattery. Show that you have followed their social media by including a reference to their recent posts, or have a read of their most recent work and include a comment on one of their articles. For example, explaining that you loved their article shows your interest. However, don’t be fake, if their most recent article isn’t to your taste research further until you find one that is. By referencing a previous article it also gives the journalist confidence that the story you’re pitching is relevant to them.
Get to the Point
Journalists are time short so keep your email simple and straight to the point, a good story can be told in a few small paragraphs. In your opening lines you need the journalist to understand why you’re contacting them and how your business is relevant to them. Avoid unnecessary information about the business, if a journalist wants more information they will ask. Don’t feel the need to fill the email with quotes, one good quote that backs up what you are saying, rather than a quote introducing new information is best.
A Journalist NeverForgets
When it comes to emails sometimes the bad can standout more than the good, which could lead to the journalist remembering you for all the wrong reasons. Quite often, if a journalist has received more than two or three irrelevant emails from you, your email can find its way to the spam box, never to be opened. Therefore it is important to know that what you are sending is relevant, spell checked and addressed to the right person.
And because it's very important to build relationships with journalist if you want to get more chances to get coverage, read also our tips to do so in our blog.
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Written By: Camilla Holroyd, Media Relations Executive
Camilla is the all-important portal between JournoLink's businesses and journalists; connecting them on a daily basis through press releases, Twitter engagements and editorial requests.