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how to write the perfect pitch email

You’ve written a fabulous press release, now what? How do you send it?

There are some simple rules to follow when it comes to crafting the perfect pitch email, so here’s my best practice guide:

  1. Be polite and personable - Being friendly and super helpful is always the best way to cultivate and nurture relationships with journalists. I like to throw in a ‘How are you?’ or ‘I hope you’re well’ and keep the tone of the email professional but light as well as to the point.

  2. Make no assumptions - A journalist will never owe you anything or is never obligated to love your product or offering even if it is the absolute bees knees, so don’t give them the impression that you think they do. No ‘You will LOVE this’ or ‘This is SO on the money for your magazine and your readers’. Take a softer approach, ‘I really hope this is something that you feel might work’, or ‘Keeping fingers crossed you love it’.

  3. Less of the small talk/chit chat - Get straight to the point of your email very quickly. Follow on from your greeting without too much fluff. By all means reference a previous issue or a piece of their work that you’ve loved and suggest that this is why you felt it relevant to pitch your offering to them. This shows that you understand the content they create and the topics that they cover as well as understanding the demographic of the magazine/outlet. Don’t linger on this compliment though.

  4. Don’t add large attachments - Whilst it is SO important to have high resolution imagery on hand for media opportunities, please don’t send to a journalist with your opening pitch email (unless you are directly responding to a request that has asked you to submit high resolution imagery in the first instance). As you can imagine, the inbox of a journalist is a crazy space and there is just no room for hundreds of high resolution images clogging it up on a daily basis. Offer imagery to them and suggest following up with a selection. These can then be shared via ‘wetransfer’, Dropbox or Google Drive.

  5. Share your Press Release - my best practice has always been to attached a PDF (smaller than 1MB) to my pitch emails. Why? Because journalists save these documents on file to come back to. I’ve sent pitches that have only been responded to up to, and beyond, 6 months later because a contact has saved the information to come back to. However, I would still suggest putting in a paragraph or two of the key information from the release into your pitch email, just in case the journalist doesn’t trust opening an attachment from an unknown source.

  6. Include your contact/follow up information - when you’re signing off your email, always include a summary of the best ways to contact you as well as a phrase that wraps up and offers anything else that the journalist may need or be interested in such as: ‘I am able to provide further information, access to samples and a selection of high resolution imagery, so please do let me know if I can provide further assistance.’

  7. Use your Subject Line to win the pitch - You’ve got your press release, you’ve got a carefully considered pitch; the final piece of the puzzle is the subject of the email. This needs to say exactly what you’re offering in a way that makes it relevant to the journalist. Working with interiors products we would often tap into a trend that we suspected journalists to be working on so would create something along the lines of: ‘Moody Blue Hues for Autumn/Winter Interiors’ so that it was clearly relevant or not to a journalist. If your pitch is a little more tailored, then you need to spell out what you are pitching and think along the lines of a journalist to show them the ‘story’ in your pitch, using media/article headlines as inspiration.

As with everything on the DIY PR route, all you need to do is break it down into those bitesize chunks. Understanding the elements of PR and how components like a ‘pitch’ work. will allow you enough insight to tackle this yourself.

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Fiona Minett