Six steps for crafting the perfect pitch
Reporters are flooded with emails; many receive hundreds each day! So how can you make your pitch stand out? Here are six steps for crafting the perfect pitch:
1. Remember the subject line. The subject line is the most important part of the email; if it stinks, reporters won’t open it. The subject should grab a reporter’s attention and convey some basics about your story. If your email is time-sensitive, say so!
2. Be creative. A good writer can make any issue exciting. So draw the reporter into your story with a timely news peg or a surprising fact.
3. Have a thesis — and back it up. An email isn’t an academic essay. But every pitch should have an argument that gets to the core of your story and is supported by facts.
4. Keep it short. The entire email should ideally be less than 150 words. Two to three sentences for the hook with one or two short paragraphs substantiating your thesis will do the trick.
5. End in a question. “Would you be interested in speaking to Miriam?” is a much better closing than “Please let me know if you’re interested!” A question invites the reporter to move forward rather than file your pitch away.
6. Follow up! Even in public relations, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. While there’s a fine line between persistency and harassment, it’s almost always a good idea to follow up once or twice if you haven’t heard back from a reporter.