Media relations is our bread and butter in the PR industry. There’s nothing better than a well-placed media hit that’s authentic, engaging and delivered directly to your target audience. But with an increasingly competitive media landscape and a growing desire by many brands to tackle multiple markets at once, honing the perfect media pitch can be tricky. Here are 10 tips for crafting a media pitch email that actually works.
1. Research before you pitch.
This is critical. Take time to research the outlet and the contact you are reaching out to before sending a pitch. If the outlet has recently covered your pitch topic or the person you are contacting doesn’t cover that beat, they’re likely to delete your email and not think twice about it.
2. Spell their name correctly.
As obvious as it seems, when we ask reporters and editors the most common reason they toss a pitch, it’s because the sender misspelled their name. A mistake like this gives the impression that you didn’t take the time to do your research or you just don’t care enough to get it right. A slight distinction between ‘Molly’ and ‘Mollie’ or ‘Nicholas’ and ‘Nicolas’ can make all the difference in landing coverage.
3. Always hyperlink directly to the client’s website.
Your goal is to make the journalist’s job as easy as possible. They receive thousands of email pitches a day and may not take the time to consider yours if more information is not easily accessible. Additionally, requiring them to search for more info on their own increases the chances of misinformation being printed if they stumble onto the wrong website.
4. Don’t attach any documents or images. Link to them.
Attachments from unknown senders frequently get blocked by spam filters. When sending a press release, either paste the copy into the body of the email under your signature or link to a file-sharing site like Dropbox. It can be helpful to go ahead and build a media kit in a Dropbox folder that includes images, videos, company bios and other crucial assets and link to it so the recipient has everything they need on the frontend.
5. Offer them something for free.
Not necessarily a gift – many hard news writers will not accept gifts due to journalistic integrity – but offer to give them a way to experience the service/product/company you are pitching for themselves so they can better report on it. This could include a comped dinner at a new restaurant, free trial at a fitness studio or coffee date with a new CEO.
Tori Ross, Reed Public Relations
One of the many perks of being a part of PRGN is developing connections with agencies around the world and having access to nearly endless resources for information sharing, business referrals and support from other industry leaders.
Because the network is international, we often rely on group Skype calls, email chains and social media interactions with our partner agencies for day-to-day communications. Occasionally, though, we get the opportunity to visit partner offices and get an inside look at how they operate, the challenges they face and how they overcome them.
At Reed Public Relations, we recently had the pleasure of hosting Laura Vinci, a senior account executive at CooperKatz & Company, PRGN’s New York City partner, for a week in our Nashville office. The exchange program, launched by CooperKatz this year, allows members of their account team to apply for an opportunity to visit a partner agency anywhere in the U.S. Laura was selected as the first employee to take advantage of this program and lucky for us, she chose RPR and Music City for her trip.
During her visit, Laura divided her time between remotely working on projects for her clients and local events with our team including a Nashville PRSA Happy Hour, a lunch meeting with long-time RPR client O’Charley’s and our quarterly all-agency Wine Wednesday event in which we toast our recent wins and take a look at what’s coming up for the next quarter.
Over the course of the week, Laura became an impromptu RPR team member. Through a mix of professional and personal activities, we learned about CooperKatz’s extensive experience in all different industries, specifically healthcare and professional services, and how they tackle media relations in a competitive market like New York City. Our team also had the chance to learn how this 20+ year old agency has grown over the years, something really valuable to our young, high-growth agency. We like to think we shared some valuable information with her too, like where to get the best hot chicken and exactly what Goo Goo Clusters and Moon Pies are, but also how we’ve grown from a 3-person team to a 9-person team in three years and created solid cause marketing, lifestyle and fitness divisions in the process.
At RPR, we are always ecstatic to meet new people within our industry to share insights, gain new knowledge and be able to better serve our clients no matter where they are in the world. This PRGN exchange was the perfect opportunity for that and we encourage our other PRGN partners to arrange visits like these as well.
And of course you’re welcome back anytime, Laura. We’ll have a Goo Goo Cluster ready for you.
Laura Vinci, CooperKatz
How does five days spent in Nashville benefit the way we do business in New York City? From an event-planning lunch at O’Charley’s (including samples!) to Wine Wednesday meetings to PRSA networking events, this woman from the Big Apple got a chance to experience how things are done in the Music City – while experiencing first-hand the benefits of our PRGN partnership. And as the first participant from CooperKatz & Company in this type of PRGN week-long agency exchange, I’m delighted to report that the experience was beyond what I imagined.
This concept isn’t new. Professionals from many PRGN-affiliated firms have been informally visiting each other throughout the years. This exchange kicked-off CooperKatz’s more formal PRGN exchange program, where our team members not only get to experience life at another PRGN agency – we also get to mutually-exchange our ideas, strategies, tactics and the way we do our work every day.
To begin preparing for this amazing professional work week, I seriously contemplated what this experience would mean for me and my colleagues. How would time away refresh my perspective? How would remote work from a different agency in a different market spark innovative ideas that I could share with my coworkers? The goal for this program was to take me out of my comfort zone, and that it did. After an extensive deliberation process, Ralph Katz, Anne Green and I decided on Reed Public Relations (RPR) in Nashville. Not only did this shop provide the out-of-the-box experience I was hoping to gain, but the ladies of Reed PR were willing to welcome me with open arms!
RPR is championed by a young, entrepreneurial millennial, Lauren Reed, and I was greatly impressed with her approach to starting, and now running, a successful PR agency. I was able to see media relations in a new element, providing a multitude of fresh takeaways. RPR offered many opportunities for me to enhance my own skills, including participating in a social media brainstorm, client meetings, their leadership team meeting, networking events and a Pitch Nashville event (as well as one or two happy hours!).
I was honored to represent CooperKatz at our PRGN partner agency. Our PRGN membership is an important part of our agency’s make-up and I have been interested in taking a more active role in the organization. Now that my work week in Nashville is over, I’m excited to bring back my experiences to share with fellow coworkers through a presentation at one of our company meetings.
I am also eager to stay in touch with my new colleagues at RPR post-exchange and to continue to develop a relationship with our other member organizations – extending the impact beyond a one-time visit. All-in-all, it was a fascinating and instructive week and I want to thank RPR for all that they did to ensure that it was memorable.