It is safe to say one of the biggest nightmares of young PR professionals is summed up in one word: pitch. We know our product or service is interesting and would serve the needs of a population, but it can be discouraging to disseminate numerous pitches a day and rarely get a hit or response. It also doesn’t help that the people to whom you are sending your pitches are probably flooded with new competition every day. If you do not grab their attention within the first few words, the pitch you just spent hours working on will find its way to the circular file.
So… How can you make sure your pitch stands out amongst all of them?
This should go without saying, but there is nothing that makes people in the PR industry cringe more than spelling errors–especially if you misspell their name or that of their organization on pitch emails. The goal of sending pitches is to impress people, not make them think you are careless.
- Be aware of whom you’re pitching.
Have you done your homework and checked if the publication actually covers your industry? It is not difficult to open a couple of websites or social media platforms to find out. This initial research is one of the most important steps; if you are trying to pitch a restaurant to a car magazine, chances are they will never go past the subject line.
Social media engagement also plays a key role in that you should use profiles as a network tool. A simple follow and a couple of “likes” alongside some replies will make your name more noticeable to the professional you are trying to reach. Once they see your name in their inbox it will already be somewhat familiar.
- Never copy-and-paste.
Generic pitches are as bad as sending the same email to a multitude of people as senders. Just don’t do it: it looks lazy. Personalized and unique pitches are much more effective because they create a connection with the receiver,who will be more likely to write about it if you show exactly why it is relevant to their company.
- Don’t be afraid to show off the benefits you’re giving the publication.
If you don’t show them their audience is going to be interested in your product or service, they are not going to pay attention to it. Describing the different ways the audience is going to engage and how it will attract traffic and interest are much more effective than just saying how awesome your product is. If after reading your email they still feel like these questions have not been answered, don’t count on a response.
- Templates are overrated.
Using a template as guidance is not a bad thing, especially when you are first starting out. But if you follow it to a T, it will probably have the same effect as copying and pasting emails. You want your pitch to stand out, not get lost among the sea of emails that publications receive on a daily basis. Besides, standard templates that come with software are not meant to be used, they are simply guides.
- Get to the point – quickly and effectively.
If you do not mention why they should pay attention to your pitch in the first few sentences, chances are they will delete it and move on. Showing that you value their time when writing short and concise pitches is appreciated. Being upfront and honest will get you instant respect. They know you are writing them because you want exposure, so why sugar coat it?