There’s no real mystery to landing great PR placements. It’s essentially remained the same from the old “can I send you our packet” days through the Internet revolution. It takes hard work and persistence, but the key has always been building good relationships.
That said, there is one tool of the Internet revolution that’s transformed the PR pitch the more than any other – E-mail. Back in the day, reporters would say, “Send a packet.” Today, thanks to the Internet, media contacts will get you off the phone by saying, “Can you send me an email pitch instead?” Don’t kid yourself, though. Media contacts remember who calls. So, be choosy, and when responding, keep in mind these two sure-fire tips: subject lines and the perfect pitch formula.
- Why Subject Lines and Summaries Matter —The most important words you write in your emailed pitch are a) in the subject line and b) the first few words the media see when they open your email. Media flooded with hundreds of emails each day will often use search terms to go through their in-boxes and find email that relates to major stories they are working on. We suggest you put these key words in parenthesis so they will stand out.
- Elements of the Perfect Pitch — If your subject line gets your foot in the door (and the reporter, producer or editor opens your email), then the first few words of your pitch have to get immediately to the point of what you can offer them that they can’t get elsewhere. If you are pitching tied to breaking news, (always a great idea!) you must say immediately how you can help the journalist advance the story. One way to do this is to list topics that you can discuss that will shed new light on the news. Another is to give the journalist a sampling of key tips or advice that you can offer their audience. These should be short, concise, single sentences. Finally, make sure to include a phone number or email where the reporter can contact you at any time, and when you see them on your caller ID, pick up! Return emails immediately if you want to be in the media. Remember, they are on deadline and will call someone else if you don’t respond promptly.
Old school rules still apply, even over e-mail, and one last trick the team at Wasabi uses is to always put on our ‘dial and smile’ face on before sending emails. Between the old school phone and new school computer, you will score the type of media coverage you desire.