Email Pitch: 40 Best Cold Email Tips Proven To Get Press

Dima s
Dmitry Dragilev Last updated on July 14, 2017 8 Comments

As a startup founder I know all startups are desperate to grow fast and get noticed.

We all want exposure but generally don’t have a lot of money to hire a public relations (PR) firm. We also don’t have a lot of time to perfect our PR outreach approach when sending an email pitch.

email pitch tips

 

We just want influencers to spread the word about us and world-renowned publications to cover us.

But you know that’s not going to happen on its own.

Unless your startup idea is a one-of-its-kind innovation, in which case the world’s media would be itching to write about you!

In most cases, you will need to go out there and make an effective media pitch to the journalists, bloggers and influencers about your company and its offerings to get a response.

At JustReachOut we have over 4K+ paying customers (who are startups and entrepreneurs). Most of our customers ask me one specific question repeatedly:

How do I pitch myself to press and influencers?

My answer to them: Learn the art of crafting the perfect PR email pitch to stand out from the rest!

Before going any further, let me quickly explain the key components of a perfect email pitch:

  • The body of the email is short but personalized,
  • The subject line is also short and simple, yet has the ability to intrigue the reporter to open the email,
  • It addresses the reporter by name,
  • It is addressed to the relevant journalist or influencer who writes about your niche,
  • The pitch section of the email gets to the point quickly,
  • It clearly explains why writing about your company/product/service would be mutually beneficial,
  • It provides an emotional hook for the reporter to want more information thereby encouraging follow ups,
  • It doesn’t use buzzwords.

Here are 2 great examples of email pitch templates from JustReachOut:

SUBJECT: Typo in your article

Hey Steven,

Respect your reporting a great deal, love the stories you put out. Crazy to think that there are more people using mobile vs. desktop now. Saw that you have a few spelling mistakes in your recent article, wanted to follow up:

“The project, which was was announced” [Write the sentence with the mistake.]

“The content will be uses for The New York Times”  [Write the sentence with the mistake.]

Looking forward to your next stories. Which article are you working on next?

Thanks,

Name
Email

 

SUBJECT: Re: Loved your article about [insert the topic which they wrote about]

Hey Steven,

I’ve been following your blog for the past 3 years, so many great insights!

Your recent post about [insert the topic which they wrote about] really resonated with me. I followed it step by step and I found it dramatically reduced my day to day stress levels.

You can read my post about it here: [insert URL of your own post]

If you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to share it with your audience.

Thanks for sharing your can’t-find-anywhere-else tips with the community.

Thanks,

Name
Email

You know getting a mention in a top media outlet or blog makes a huge impression on your prospects and customers. It also enhances the trustworthiness and reputation of your brand.

Moreover, it helps improve your organic search ranking and site authority, which in turn brings more qualified leads and customers.

However, don’t forget that the relationship between a startup and the media or influencer is symbiotic.

While you, as the startup, want exposure in top publications, the media outlets also want to hear from you because ultimately you are what gets them news!

In this post the folks from LeadFuze and I have compiled a set of 40 best email pitch strategies which will enable you to easily grab the attention of journalists, bloggers and influencers in your niche.

Ready? Lets roll…

 

If you’re in a hurry, jump to the tip you want to read.

Here are 40 PR email pitch tips to help your startup get noticed:

What to do Before Crafting your Email Pitch?

 1. Find Journalists who Cover Your Industry

If your company sells beauty products, would you send an email pitch to a hunting magazine?

Sure, this is an exaggerated scenario, but your email pitch needs to go to the relevant influencer.

Search Google News or create daily alerts. One way to find journalists and bloggers who would be interested in your company is to follow industry-related news.

Here’s an example of how to do this using the earlier example of a beauty product company:

beauty news email pitch example

 

It takes only a small amount of effort to find top publications that are relevant to your niche. When you keep searching these alerts daily, you will also begin to identify the key journalists that cover topics related to your industry. You also get to identity the relevant journalist’s style and niche.

Once you have these journalists identified, you will have a leg up since you have been actively following their reporting and use that information when crafting your email pitch.

Become a source. Another great way to identify journalists that will be interested in you is to become a source. Not only are you getting your foot in the door, but you are providing something of value to the reporter.

Mutually beneficial relationships like these tend to continue to grow.

Use online tools and forums. Another means to identify journalists is by using forums like JustReachOut.

Finding industry-related writers can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack if you don’t utilize resources specifically designed for that purpose.

Another effective way is to search Quora and Reddit for relevant conversations.

Get involved in the discussion but don’t (I repeat DON’T) mention your products or services right away. Doing so will instantly demote you to troll status.

Start sharing your opinion and providing worthwhile feedback and then set your sights on journalists you are interested in building a relationship with you inviting them to join the conversation.

You can see a great example of this here.

screenshot guest post2

 2.  Be Familiar With a Writer’s Audience and Niche

content meme for email pitch

The easiest way to turn off a journalist is to contact them with zero knowledge of their audience and what’s important to them.

In addition to creating Google Alerts, also hone in on specific journalists that you feel have the perfect audience to take interest in your story and your company.

Even if the writer also covers stories outside your industry, be familiar with them and gain as much knowledge as you can about his or her readership.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to show in your email that you have done your research.

Example:

Hey X, 

I found your recent article, XYZ, very educational and specifically thought XYZ was fascinating. If you are looking for sources for any upcoming stories on XYZ I would love to offer my expertise. 

 3.  Monitor Relevant Twitter Hashtags

Just as Google Alerts will help you follow news stories, hashtags will help you monitor them in social media.

Not only will you be able to see who is publishing what, but you will also get to see how others are interacting with the story.

These interactions can help you shape your email pitch to capture this same type of interest.

 4. Build Social Presence with Writers Before Your Email Pitch

connect over social media before you send an email pitch

Just as we know with sales, cold emails can be significantly warmed up by building a social presence.

In today’s world of journalism, even print writers have their stories shared socially through Facebook, Twitter etc.

This is your chance to begin following them and interacting. By leaving quality comments and interactions, you will start to be a recognizable name and suddenly the appearance of your email in their inbox isn’t such a shock.

 5.  Introduce Experts for Interviews with a Reporter

While building your business, you undoubtedly have come across excellent sources both personally and professionally.

Putting reporters in contact with a source you know is a great way to network and build a relationship.

6.  Join HARO

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is an excellent resource for those looking for press coverage.

HARO

Sign up for the HARO and you’ll receive twice daily emails full of requests from journalists seeking sources for their articles. Topics include high tech and business and finance. Often times, you can offer your expertise or experiences related to your industry and earn a back link to the company you work for.

You can also sign up for JustReachOut, a journalist research and outreach automation tool to search for active HARO queries related to your company and the work you do.

 7. Join YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council)

YEC

YEC is an organization that can help you increase your online presence. As a member, you not only will be featured in various publications, but you will have a great opportunity for networking and growing your business.

What to do When Composing your Email Pitch?

 8.  Perfect the Subject Line 

How often have we heard that first impressions are everything? Or, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression?

Well, when it comes to email, these cliche’s couldn’t be any more right on.

Take a look at these simple subject line tips:

  • Keep it to 6 to 10 words.
  • Be specific — Catch the writer’s interest, why do they need to read your email pitch?
  • Get to the point and illicit curiosity
  • Sound like a person, not a robot
  • Avoid spam filter trigger words (i.e. “free” “you” or excessive use of punctuation)

Example from Hasgtagsandstilettossubject line example for a great email pitch

 9.   Ditch the Introduction 

Don’t waste time explaining who you are and what your company does.

Skip the wordiness and jump straight into why it’s relevant to the journalist and their readers.

Remember the 5 w’s that journalists live by – Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

 10. Keep it Short and Sweet 

Consider the fact that many popular journalists get up to 100 email pitches a day.

This isn’t said to discourage you, simply to remind you that brevity is key.

Suggested length for emails varies but some basic guidelines include anything from 20 to 100 words and somewhere between two and three paragraphs.

If you want to make your email even easier to scan, use bullet points to make the point easy to see.

 11. Tell Your Personal Story

Everyone loves a good story.

Competition, drama, gossip, failure and unlikely success are the stories of journalistic dreams. They appeal to our emotions and when you can show there is a real person behind your startup, you are naturally more likeable.

If you want to take the personal-story email pitch approach with your targeted publications, that could work but you may have more luck telling your own story in your own words.

Build a voice, your voice, for your brand.

Fortunately, guest posts are a fantastic way to get eyes on your business while sharing your story yourself. PR of years past required actually finding a reporter to print (yes, print) your story. Now even the top publications have their own websites and encourage writer contributions.

Still not convinced?

Take a look at just the first paragraph of this contributing writer’s article in Forbes and tell me you aren’t instantly hooked!

forbes

Read the rest of the post at Forbes (I know you are as intrigued as I was!)

This is an example of a successful use of the personal story. It shows us that Sunday is a real person with a success story we can relate to.

 12.  Utilize Video for Visual Interest

Utilize YouTube for your PR strategies.

Create a funny, educational or compelling video to include in your next PR email pitch. Visually stimulating content trumps written in today’s marketplace.

  13.  Use Images to Help Tell Your Story 

Just as I have recommended using videos, I also recommend photos and images.

Just avoid the cookie cutter office pics and only use images when you have something compelling to portray.

 14.  Personalize Your Email Pitch Whenever Possible

Taking the time to make sure you have the reporter’s name, background info and proper spelling will allow you to help personalize your email, increasing the odds that it will be read.

 15.  Use P.S. After Closing

Use this to make sure you are reaching out to the right person.

“P.S. If you aren’t the right person to contact for this story, would you be able to let me know who is?”

Attaching a PS to the end of your email prevents your question about whether they are the right person from distracting from your main email pitch. PS also tends to make the ask feel more gentle.

 16.  Make Sure Your Signature Has All Your Contact Info

signature example to use in an email pitch

You ultimately want the reporter to contact you back right?

So don’t make it hard for them to find all methods of contacting you.

Email signatures not only make you look professional, but will provide the reporter with contact details for easy response.

 17. End the Email Pitch With a Question

Ending with a question is a great way to naturally ask for someone to take the next step in communication.

This invites an easy response and allows for some thought on their end. People love to give advice and their opinion on matters so leverage this to raise interest.

Examples:

Are there any stories you are working on now that need sources?
How far in advance is your editorial schedule laid out?

What to do When Writing your Email Pitch Body?

 18.  Share Newsworthy Information

newsworthy

It would be great if you could simply email pitch your product or service to a journalist and have them broadcast it to the masses for you.

I hate to be the one to break that dream but it will never happen.

If you don’t have something newsworthy to share, forget it. This is why community events or other newsworthy material must be the reason for your email, not just that you started a new company or service.

Not sure you have something newsworthy going on? Check out these 11 newsworthy aspects from MrMediaTraining.

newsworthy stories for sending an email pitch

  19.  Show Your Value to the Reader

Just as you discuss the value proposition in sales, you must do the same in your PR email pitch.

It’s not about what the reporter can do for you, but what you can do for the reporter.

Every good writer wants a great scoop, something that will make their readers happy by educating or entertaining them.

Be sure to include this high up in the body of your email so that it’s front and center.

 20.  Picture Yourself as the Person You Are Pitching to

Put yourself in the shoes of the person reading your email.

What would grab your attention and make you open it?

 21. Write How You Speak

push the envelope

Have you ever been talking to a close friend or significant other and accidentally slipped into business jargon mid-argument? Yeah… it doesn’t go over well

People like to be spoken to like people. Don’t make your writing sound like a robot.

Write how you speak. Those who struggle the most with writing often forget this key tip.

  22.  Talk About Problem Solving, not Your Products and Services

maria

No one wants to be sold to when they aren’t in any way shape or form looking to buy your product.

Pitch your story as a way to solve a common problem of simplify difficult situations that you know their readers experience.

Whatever you do, leave the sales email pitch at home.

How to get Maximum Impact From your Email Pitch?

 23.  Be Timely, Always

Pitching the right story at the right time can be difficult. Be sure that your email pitch is timely and  fits in with the type of stories that are being covered.

 24. Don’t Send Mass Email Pitches

Mass emails are a massive turnoff to reporters.

This shows you don’t want to take the time to actually craft a personalized email.

In a nutshell, you look lazy.

 25.  Host an Event

Events are newsworthy.

Create your own event and then promote, promote, promote!

 26.  If you Have an Event, Give Reporters two Weeks Notice

Editorial calendars are often filled 2 weeks out. Give the reporter time to actually be able to cover your event and publish it in a reasonable amount of time.

If you are emailing them about an event happening this weekend, your efforts will be in vain.

 27.  Avoid Simple Mistakes

typo

As a writer myself, I will tell you that no one is immune to the occasional typo or grammatical error.

When you are crafting your email pitch, however, realize top journalists will likely miss the entirety of the article the second their eye falls on a type.

This is why you need to avoid simple mistakes in that first outreach more than any other. I can’t tell you how many times a day I re-read something prior to publishing it!

If editing is not completely something you are comfortable with, get a second set of eyes to sign off on your email before you hit send.

 28.  Don’t Call a Reporter Directly

argh

One of the most common requests from reporters across the board is don’t call them.

Reporters are busy, busy, busy.

Interrupting them with phone calls is a quick way to get yourself blacklisted. Emails allow a reporter to get back to you on his or her own time.

What to do After Sending the Email Pitch?

 29.    Allow Time Before Following Up

Along these same lines, you must allow some time for a follow-up.

It’s a necessary part of the PR email pitch process but there is a fine line between being persistent and annoying. Make sure you allow the reporter time to read and respond before filling up their inbox.

Allow 3 to 4 business days to pass before following up.

 30. If Your Follow-up Gets no Response, Reach out Again

Don’t give up. If that follow-up email didn’t get a response, wait 4 to 5 business days and reach out again.

Journalists receive thousands of each day so even if they were interested in your email pitch, it may slip from their mind.

Get back on their radar by following up! I also advise you to install an email tracking tool like Mixmax so you know if the journalist has opened your email or clicked on any of its link. If they opened more than once, it’s a sign they may be interested in your pitch.

If they aren’t interested, at least most will reach out to tell you that they aren’t after your third outreach and you can move on a focus your attention elsewhere.

 31. Be Consistent

Too often we have the tendency to suffer burnout. Make a goal to reach out to X number of people a day, no matter what. Friend asked me if I’m free tonight? Only if I reach out to X number of people before that! Once you stick to this schedule for a week, it’ll start to become engrained like a habit and you’ll feel guilty for not doing it.

It also helps to reward yourself for reaching your daily goals in the beginning to keep yourself on track. Something simple that brings you a burst of endorphins like a chocolate croissant.

 32. Test Your Message

If you are using the same general format for all your outreach and getting poor response, do something different!

Change up your subject line, the main points you discuss in your email pitch and how you phrase your ask to see if you better results.

Some Other Mediums to Send Your Email Pitch

 33. Use LinkedIn InMail

There’s a time and a place for traditional email, but once you have formed the beginning of a social relationship on LinkedIn, reach out with InMail to continue the relationship.

Using InMail reduces the possibility that your name will be lost when you reach out with a different form of communication than you have built the relationship with.

 34.  Don’t Underestimate Snail Mail

snail mail

Back in those golden days before we all had computers at our fingertips, we actually used a pen, paper, envelope and stamp to express our thoughts.

As email gurus, we can easily discount direct marketing campaigns like snail mail, but when it comes to PR, it’s not always a bad idea to send an actual stamped envelope with your email pitch.

Few Other Email Pitch Strategies

 35.  Don’t Underestimate the Power of Complimenting a Reporter

flattery works in an email pitch

Everyone loves a good compliment.

Journalists are constantly covering controversial subjects and are often bombarded with hate mail. Get a journalist to notice you by complimenting their recent works. It also shows that you have done your research.

36.  Use Permission-Based PR in Addition to Cold Emails

Try this approach:

“Traditionally, when we wanted to get media for our clients, we’d just send a pitch email, including the media release. While this worked for some, it wasn’t foolproof for most startups. Now, we identify a month early what journalists we’re targeting and send a simple intro email; introducing ourselves and asking their permission to send them a pitch(s) in the future. We also ask what style they prefer, how much notice they like, etc. Not only does this work — we’ve noticed a large increase in coverage rates as a result.”

— Heather Carson, President and Co-Founder of Onboardly Media

 37. Promote Philanthropy

Aligning yourself and your company with a great cause not only feels good, but it makes you newsworthy as well.

Check out local philanthropy events taking place in your area and see how you can get involved.

Once you are involved, you have great newsworthy updates to pass to your targeted writers.

 38.  Don’t Forget Targeted Keywords When Actually Writing Content

The point of this email pitch it to get people to write about you, but that doesn’t mean you should underestimate the importance of optimizing your own content.

If your email resonates with a journalist, the first thing they are going to do is research you to see if you are legit, Building your online presence by utilizing relevant and optimized keywords will make it easier for them to find you.

 39.  Publish Your Own Amazing Content

While we are on the subject of content, create your own!

The better your content is, the more it will be shared and the more likely it is that your name will get out there. Yes, journalist written stories are your goal but utilize the resources you have to enhance the chance your story will get picked up.

 40. Focus on PR Quality, Not Quantity

Don’t get too “send happy” with your emails.

Yes, you want coverage but take the time to make sure you are targeting only quality sources. Quality wins over quantity any day.

Aim high, it may take longer to get the attention of those larger publications but it will be worthwhile in the end.

Over to You

Learning to perfect the art of the PR email pitch is ongoing and as you can see, takes some serious time. Just keep in mind your target audience and how you would like to be approached as a reporter and you are well on your way.

What are your go-to tips for pitching your story?

8 thoughts on “Email Pitch: 40 Best Cold Email Tips Proven To Get Press

  1. reply

    Emmerey Rose

    Definitely a good professional signature is a must. And also, joining several groups and organization to meet people and expand network. Great post Dmitry!

  2. reply

    Dmitry Dragilev

    Definitely agree with you there, I’ve got quite a good collection of email endings I love to use, check these out, would love your feedback on your favorite ones: http://www.criminallyprolific.com/email-endings/

  3. reply

    Emmerey Rose

    Will check that out! Thanks for the reference Dmitry! 🙂

  4. reply

    Shaurya

    Some very neat ideas. I can see applying some in my guest post outreach too!!

    Dimitry, I was wondering if bloggers should reach out to reporters when they come out with an epic piece of content or is pr just for startups and companies to get news out about the latest feature or event ?

    Would love to hear your thoughts on that!

    • Dmitry Dragilev

      Hey Shaurya,

      Watch this video https://prthatconverts.com/ see the video on the page? Fast fwd to 17 min to skip the back story. See the four ways I advise doing PR? Try following one of these tactics instead. Sound good?

      -Dmitry

  5. reply

    Shaurya

    Sorry dimitry, but I still don’t get if a blogger should be doing pr outreach for his blog after coming out with a good piece or not?

  6. reply

    Shaurya

    Like I do get that I can interview someone or do a roundups and it is going to help me make relationships but how will I get mentioned on publication sites as a result of it?

  7. reply

    Dmitry Dragilev

    Hey Shaurya,

    So the answer is yes, you of course want to promote your blog post but you want to do it in non-spammy way. You don’t want to be doing what everyone else is doing.

    The four tactics in the video I shared are designed to help you open up a conversation with the influencer or journalist, you’ll need to develop the relationship and show them a lot of value before they would end up promoting you. Here, watch the second video: https://prthatconverts.com/vid2-build-relationships/

    In terms of a backlink strategy, read this article:
    https://www.semrush.com/blog/using-guest-blogging-as-a-link-building-strategy/

    Does this help?

    -Dmitry

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