Winning the pitch war

Pitching out stories and ideas to journalists is a big part of PR. Having your pitches heard gains your clients coverage, exposure to new audiences and helps you as a PR professional build relationships with journalists who quickly learn that you’re a source of quality material that suits their audience.

But how easy is it to get there?

If you think about how many pitch emails you send out on a daily or weekly basis then multiply that by the number of other execs up and down the country, across agencies big and small, also pinging emails out left, right and centre to journalists, it’s easy to see that inboxes are being flooded with stories.

A report in 2017 highlighted that almost half of all journalists across the world have more than 25 email pitches a day land in their inbox. 25!

Worst of all, journalists are producing less than 25 pieces a month. Because lets face it, it’s not humanly possible to be churning out hundreds and hundreds of articles each and every month. Unless you’re Sophia the robot, maybe.

Despite the odds being stacked against us, it’s still possible to win the pitch war.

It doesn’t have to be an uphill battle

Like anything in life, it turns out there’s a best practice to sending our PR emails. Agility Solutions found in a recent study that the emails with the top open rates via their distribution services all had some things in common. Turns out, it doesn’t have to be a battle.

Don’t send your email on a Friday. Even if you’re hard at work, a lot of news desks have shut up shop. Who can blame them? Get things out earlier in the week, and if you have a particular publication you want to make a splash in, check out their deadline day ahead of time.

Do use a journalist’s first name. Only if you know it, of course. It makes your email more personal and direct. Sending your pitch from a personal email address (not your actual personal email, but a company email that looks personal – like ours here at Carrington!) also helps, because nobody opens anything from a suspicious-looking sender and a general email looks way too impersonal.

Keep things simple, keep things personal, and remember – you’re just two humans trying to do your job. Until Sophia-type robots take over…

Don’t make your subject line too long. It should be to the point and gives the reader a sense of what your email is about – and if it’s worth opening in the first place.

Do follow up! A second email that cleverly uses ‘Additional info’ or even simply just ‘Follow-up’ at the start of the subject line will stand out in even the fullest of inboxes. You’ve sent it twice, so it must be worth their time.

At Carrington, we’ve found that these tactics have been our allies when we get in touch with journalists. If you’re unsure if your message is reaching the right people and need a little PR magic, just send us an email. We promise we’ll open it.