The Email Pitch Exposed: 7 Hacks To Grabbing A Journalist’s Attention
Pitching to journalists is like going on a blind date.
You scrutinize every detail trying to catch their eye, and when you finally hit send, you stare endlessly at the screen waiting for a response.
They’re probably busy. You resist the urge to follow-up every hour. You don’t want to seem too desperate, but at the same time, you know you should persevere. Does the three day rule apply? Would it be better to call?
It’s not the waiting that’s agonizing.
It’s the rambling in your head.
Deep down, you know they may not be thinking of you as much as you’re thinking of them.
You start wondering if your pitch has been forgotten, or worse, ignored. If only you could read their minds, then you could give them what they want.
But what if you could peer inside a journalist’s head? What if someone taught you how to think like a journalist?
1. Journalists are deadline-driven.
Perfect timing is key to everything.
Before you pitch, always remember to answer the question, “Why now? Why does this need to be published right now?” It needs to be relevant with their audience and the current events.
Journalists are always happy to entertain you if you have something newsworthy. Otherwise, there’s a lot they need to catch-up on and not enough time.
2. Do your homework.
Are you the right fit for their column? No two journalists are alike. Before sending in a pitch, check out what their niche is. Maybe they’re an expert on tech start-ups, and you’re someone trying to get press for a non-profit organization. It might be a mismatch.
Spending a few minutes getting to know the journalist can save you several hours in the long run.
3. Be a resource to them.
Nowadays, the demand for a 24/7 news cycle puts pressure on journalists to come up with something new all the time. If you can provide the expertise they need, then it’s a win-win for both of you.
Remember it’s not about you. Focus on what you can do to help them, and the rest is going to follow.
4. Be personal.
There is nothing worse than copy-paste pitches especially if it’s blasted towards every single reporter. Remember journalists have close connections. They know if you’ve sent the exact same thing to everyone else.
While it doesn’t hurt to diversify, you should also be selective. If there’s one thing no journalist can resist, it’s exclusivity to a hot topic.
5. Master the elevator pitch.
Cut to the chase. Journalists receive hundreds of emails per week. Large blocks of text are just begging to be archived or deleted from their inbox.
Keep your message lean yet meaty. Trim it down to the juiciest details, and make sure your pitch is in bite-sized portions.
If your story is interesting, they’re going to reach out to you for more information.
6. If you can, try to be specific.
Which sounds more interesting to you?
We have the best products, and we’re the fastest growing company in this industry.
Our product was nominated as one of the best innovations in 2016. Within a year, we’ve sold over 25,000 units.
Chances are journalists are going with the second option. Words like best, greatest or fastest are too vague. When you give something concrete, it sounds more credible.
Remember to give important details without saying too much.
7. They can play the devil’s advocate.
Even if they love an idea, they have to match it with a healthy dose of skepticism. After all, there’s always two sides of the story.
If your pitch catches their attention, they’re going to try to analyze it from several angles. Having different vantage points can add depth to a story. So be prepared to answer tough questions.