PR Tactic In Focus: The Pitch Email

By Mary Mtabali

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What is it?

An expert email sent to an editor or media organisation which details a story idea for a publication, along with an attempt to sell this particular idea, along with yourself as the potential writer.

Why should you use it?

A large percentage of successful PR campaigns have come from sending well-crafted emails. Most brands have pretty much exclusively made it in the news via email.

At MediaHQ, we have seen thousands of pitch emails go through our platform and over the years we have learned some key lessons that make each pitch sharper.

How should you use it?

Here are three top tips to using a killer PR pitch.

Make it personal
If you’re sending a pitch to a journalist make sure that you connect with them on a personal level. What does that look like in practice? Maybe you mention a story they did that you liked. If you know about an interest they have or an acquaintance you have in common–mention it. People forget that the most powerful thing you can do when you are communicating is to make a personal connection.

On MediaHQ, we have a personalisation field that allows you to add a person’s first name to a pitch email. If you are writing a pitch email to a number of different people, one of the common pitfalls is to think of them as a group and not individuals. This is not done on purpose but often it can lead to you inadvertently using language that isn’t personal because you are addressing a group in your mind’s eye. Remember you convince people one at a time.

What is your story strategy?
One of the key ingredients often lost on PR people is story strategy. So you’ve come up with a good idea, you’ve fashioned it into a really snappy news line. What’s next? You need a strategy. Here are the key questions:

Who are the audience that you are trying to attract?

What is the way to get the most out of your story? Could it be via the following:

Media/PR release.

Social media post.

Pitch to a group of media.

Pitch to a single journalist.

Local media.

Once you’ve decided on an approach then you need to put meat on the bones.

Here are the key questions:

If it’s a media list – who should be on it? With MediaHQ you can build it in seconds.

If it’s a social media post – how will you support it and what’s the best way to execute it with images, video, and timing?

If you are pitching it – who are you pitching it to? With MediaHQ you can do personalised group pitches or individual pitches.

What way are you formatting your pitch?

If you decide to pitch, what should your pitch look like? Here is a suggested structure that gives the best chance of success.

Subject: Story idea–“Your killer one line” or Exclusive for you “Your killer one line.”

Hi “ Insert journalist’s first name”

(The ability to pull first names into the press release is a feature is available on MediaHQ)

Personal paragraph. Make a connection.

Why is the story great? Put it in context. Who are you offering to talk to them? Why is that person great?

Give a bit more detail. Give some highlights of the story in bullets:

  • It’s great because…
  • And this great nugget.
  • And this cool fact.

What are the next steps and how will you follow up. Leave your mobile always.

A pleasant goodbye.

And there you have it, three great steps to a killer pitch.

Get killer tips on how you can craft an effective pitch email that will get you in the news in our blog here.

At MediaHQ, we have the contact details of every journalist, media outlet, producer and editor. If you’d like a demo on how to use the platform, email Gaye Gleeson on [email protected] or request your demo here.



Mary Mtabali

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