with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
I get pitches all the time from PR folks and business owners. Over the years, I’ve really developed my likes and dislikes in terms of how the information is presented to me via email. Since email is the ONLY way I like to receive pitches, I developed the following tips on “good e-mail pitching.”
If you are looking to make contact with a reporter via email, the following could help your email stand out - in a good way!
1. Focus Your Subject.
I can’t tell you how many pitches I get with vague email subjects, and I tend to open them last, often after my story deadline because they simply do not get my attention. Compose a clear and concise email subject and include your name or your client’s name and company name. That helps me find your email easily while I skim my overcrowded InBox.
2. Directly Address Your Point - FAST.
When pressed for time, I’m not looking for chitchat or other email pleasantries. I need to get straight to the business at hand. Use your first 2-3 sentences in your email to tell me who you are pitching and why. What is the key point you are trying to make? What is the “hook” or angle of your pitch? I don’t have time to read an entire email to try to figure this out.
3. Provide a VERY Short Bio.
Every client has life, career and/or business highlights. Zero in on the ones most relevant to your pitch - don’t just copy and paste a lengthy boilerplate bio. A short bio is one paragraph with 5-6 sentences.
4. Avoid Cliches.
Don’t use age-old cliches to try to sell your client such as “She’s a woman succeeding in a man’s world” or “She overcame enormous odds to find success.” Their story should speak for itself without the cliches or hyperbole. Try to distill what makes them interesting or different or newsworthy into one concise statement.
5. Save the Press Release for Last.
Reporters get press releases in so many ways but I have to say, sending just a release is not helping your client get noticed. What it tells me is the publicist is too lazy to craft a quick, concise pitch, and frankly I don’t have the time to read the release to figure out if I’m interested in interviewing someone. That said, pasting a recent or relevant release at the end of the pitch can be helpful, and I will glance at it if the pitch has grabbed my attention.
6. Make Follow-ups Clear.
If I’ve responded to you and you are now following up, include the previous email exchanges you’ve had with me to refresh my baby-rattled memory. The worst follow-up emails I get are the ones that come all to often with nothing more than “Just wanted to know if you were interested in interviewing my client for your article.” The second worst pitches are the ones that have made the rounds between clients and colleagues and are forward - perhaps accidentally - to the reporter. I don’t have time to sift through what everyone else is saying to figure out what is being pitched and most of that correspondence wasn’t really for my eyes in the first place!
7. Do Not Attach Files to Reporters.
Unless you have been given specific instructions to send a reporter attached files, make it a rule never to attach files to reporters. If you can, use links to online resources, particularly in a well-organized Web-based press room. If you must send an attachment, never do it with your pitch but instead offer to send other documents and specify the file type and size or at least ask permission. If the core of your pitch is in an attached file, realize that 9 times out of 10, your strongest selling points are going into a trash bin.
The most important thing to remember when pitching by email is that each reporter is different and has their own preferences. It never hurts to email them first and ask what they’d prefer to receive.
Subscribe to blog via RSS