by Laura Beachy
It’s 9am Monday and your inbox is filled with over 50 emails from people you don’t know pitching products ranging from turntables for cats to all-natural head lice remedies. Did I mention you’re a reporter who covers education reform? You sigh, take a sip of coffee, and send all of them to your trash folder.
Welcome to the island of misfit pitches - a digital vortex that’s home to millions of unread emails addressed to the wrong reporters at the wrong time. As a small business owner, landing media and garnering attention for your product/service is an essential component to your overall marketing strategy. Below are five essential elements to help you craft a compelling pitch:
1. Subject: Something Newsworthy and Unique
Why is this interesting? More importantly, why is this interesting now? Consumer media is a fickle organism that follows and reports on trends that relate to a greater societal interest at a particular time in history. When crafting a subject line, identify why your product/service is relative at the present moment and be specific about your unique value proposition.
Ex: “Yoga Teacher Hosts New Class” = Bad
“Yoga Practitioner Partners with Local Animal Sanctuary on Charity Class” = Good
2. Dear Person I took the Time to Research,
LinkedIn isn’t a tool for creeping on that person you dated for three months ten years ago. Keep that weirdness to Facebook. Identify the media outlet you want to target. Then, do your homework. Research who covers a specific industry and address them directly. For example, if you are a running coach with a new breathing technique, find a reporter who has written about biomechanics and movement. The leading pet peeve of journalists is receiving a barrage of emails that are unrelated to the journalists’ industry. On that note….
3. Here is a line about a recent article you wrote.
Piggybacking on #2, find a recent article that reporter X has written and relate it to your pitch.
Ex: I saw your article (hyperlink to their article) last week on how exercising while pregnant keeps you balanced. My pilates studio (hyperlink to studio) just launched a pilot class that specifically caters to women entering their second trimester.
4. And here are 3-4 sentences max that are interesting and simple.
My third grade English teacher said it best - KISS, keep it simple stupid. An introductory email should serve as a tease where more information is available upon request. This is not the time to detail your life story. Identify the top three points that encompass your message. Your goal is to give the reporter enough information to pique his/her interest enough so that they reply to your e-mail to learn more.
5. Sincerely, Signature to Learn More about Me
Don’t skimp on your signature. Include your website and appropriate social media handles so that the reporter has easy access to validate your credentials. Similarly, make sure your corresponding digital elements are professional with a punch of personality.