You’ve got an amazing idea for a magazine article or a guest blog post on a website you adore… now it’s time to think about your ‘pitch’.
A pitch is simply an email introducing yourself and your idea but much like a cover letter for a job, it can be easy to become unsure what to say to really sell yourself to get a yes or better yet a WOW from the recipient.
Journalists and editors are busy people and receive tens if not hundreds of emails a day of various stories being pitched to them. You need to stand out and get noticed.
Here’s how to send a killer email pitch to get you and your business media coverage…
Create a template
If you plan on pitching to various media outlets, you can always create an email signature of your pitch or keep the copy somewhere to refer back to.
That way when you send a pitch you won’t leave anything out and you know what you need to include. This template is ideally used to be tweaked as you should amend it each time you send an email pitch to ensure it is relevant to the journalist or editor and not just copy and paste randomly into emails.
Where to find the contact details
Most publications have the contact details readily available on their website. Just make sure you pick the right person or team to send your pitch to.
You may see ‘editorial team’, ‘features desk’ but it is always better to send your pitch to individual writers and editors. With the exception of some places who make it clear on their website that no one should be pitched to, for instance the Huffington Post.
If you cannot find the contact name then search LinkedIn and Twitter. If you own a clothing company you perhaps would want to find the ‘fashion editor’ at a magazine so simply type into the social media search bar ‘fashion editor Marie Claire’ and it will bring up their name.
Now it’s time for my favourite tip and the most loved by my community. Every time I share it this one receives a WOW. You can’t help but be amazed by this one…
Find the URL website address of the media outlet and put it into my favourite website http://Hunter.io and it will give you ALL the email addresses available to that URL. If you intend on doing this a lot you can even add the Google Chrome extension they have (I use it every day and adore it!)
….now THAT is a handy trick. It works for if you need an email address of anyone and is super useful when pitching for new business to so write that one down somewhere!
Nail the subject line
Everyone knows that a good subject line leads to a higher open rate. In our initial pitch we not only want it to be opened but we want to create a sense of ‘crikey that does sound cool, I’m intrigued’ so you’ve already got their interest in what you have to say before they read on.
Often when pitching article titles or topics, we tend to want to put these in the subject line… but if you use jargon or odd terms it does not entice the recipient to open it as they won’t quite understand what you’re saying.
Nail your subject by just stating what it is you’re actually sending them. If you’re sending your personal story for a magazine feature then write ‘Story idea’ or ‘story pitch’ then type your story in a few words.
As an example, I pitched a client who is a passive income strategist. Which is of the below do you think sounds the best and more enticing to an editor?
Passive income strategist – passive income article
Feature pitch: Homeless technophobe grows multi 6-figure online businesses
Needless to say I sent the latter and received a superb response rate from it too.
Structuring your email
I’ve had feedback from multiple journalists and editors and most say they don’t need to hear about your business or what you do in your opening paragraph. Merely your ideas and what you are pitching.
Keep your email short and sweet, not too long, perhaps 2-3 paragraphs. There is no need to attach CV’s or images at this stage, unless they’ve requested this or you feel it utterly necessary. Emails with attachments can often go into SPAM folders and aren’t appealing to open if sat in an inbox.
Whether to use ‘hello’, ‘dear’, or ‘hi’ is your call but if you don’t know the recipient of your pitch I personally recommend starting with ‘dear’ and then their first name.
If you’re just pitching an idea before you’ve written the article, in the opening paragraph mention the article title and that you thought it would be of interest to their readers, what it’s about and perhaps, if relevant, why you’ve written it. Keep this REALLY brief and to the point, no waffling.
Often you do not need to mention your name, unless you are well-known in your industry or the editor will know who you are.
“I wondered if you would interested in an article on how PR can take your hotel to over 90% occupancy rate within 3 months by an award-winning hospitality PR agency founder.”
(Yes that is me and I have used that in a pitch!)
In the second paragraph after your opening, this is where you can write a brief background about you and your business. “To give you a little more background…” or “I’m a qualified business coach with 20 years experience who…”
In this paragraph you can always add other places you have been featured too. Do not hide anything important to your pitch in this part though, the juicy bits need to be at the beginning so it isn’t lost in a paragraph of text.
Have your objection in mind when you close your email. If you want the recipient to say yes to an article then say “I’d love if there was an opportunity to contribute an article to….” mentioning their magazine name. You need to let the reader know what you want them to do with your email.