What Would a Persuasive Email Pitch Look Like?

December 27, 2016

By: Irene Lo.

As any PR panda knows, it’s a fortunate day when you get through to a journalist and he has time to chat on the phone. More often than not, the email pitch is the first impression you will make on the press so you better make it count!

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Journalists receive email pitches every day and some receive hundreds alone from PR professionals. But what happens to most of these emails? They’re skimmed or binned without ever being opened. 40% of adults report never reading marketing emails.

Writing a persuasive email pitch is difficult because there really is no magic formula that will work with every reporter. Yet the skill of pitching is so crucial to successful PR that seasoned industry figure, Ed Zitron, has called it “the bedrock of PR.” More than social media or phone, reporters prefer email pitches, meaning it’s one of the most effective ways for us to reach out to them.

Here are my tips on how to write a persuasive email pitch for journalists.

Be personal not fake

One of the things I love about email pitches is that you aren’t penalized for showing your personality. The worst email pitches are as robotic as a sales call. Thanks to the internet, there are new opportunities to be authentic. Whether that’s by letting a reporter know you enjoyed their recent stories or follow them on social media, personalizing an email pitch lets the reporter know there’s a human on the other side.

Focus on trends not buzzwords

It’s easy to use buzzwords but nothing turns a reporter off more than overused words in an email. “Disruptive innovation” may sound intriguing but buzzwords often convey little meaning to a reporter about your client’s products and services. Rather than turning to provocative jargon, talk about your client within the context of industry trends to strengthen your angle.

Get to the point pronto

The modern newsroom is overworked and underpaid, and they do not have time to analyze your pitch. Make their lives easier by making your argument as quickly as possible. A lean and compelling headline will do most of the work for you. 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy but only 2 out of the same 10 will read the rest. In other words, filler is kryptonite.

So what?

Robert B. Cialdini defines the rule of reciprocation as trying “to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us.” PR people that offer successful stories to the press are the ones that remember this motivational given. To get what we want from a pitch, we think about what reporters want and why our product, event or story is right for them right now.

Check out my recommended reads on pitching and let me know if I’ve missed any you’d like to share!

Ed Zitron “This Is How you Pitch: How To Kick Ass In Your First Years of PR.”
Robert B. Cialdini “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

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