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Directors Digest: How Not to Scare Away Reporters

Though some journalists might like getting spooked outside of work during the Halloween season, sending them lengthy, aggressive pitches with spelling errors will land you in the email graveyard.

Here are some tips for how not to scare away reporters:

Write a Compelling Subject Line

Journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day, and more than half of them find themselves deleted or in the junk folder. Most media pitches without a strong subject line end up in the trash. Creating a subject line for an email is like writing a headline for an article.

To increase your chances of getting noticed, begin with a subject line that is specific and concise to let the journalist know exactly what to expect. The subject line should draw the reader in and promise a story their audience would be interested in.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Long-winded explanations of your client’s history won’t generate a response from a reporter. In general, PR professionals should keep their pitches short and sweet, including only the relevant information.

Remember, writing a pitch is about teasing the newsworthy qualities of your client. If the reporter wants to learn more, they can read your press release or follow up with any questions.

Write for the Media You’re Pitching

No two pitches are alike, especially when it comes to pitching multiple outlets. Make sure your pitch is customized to the reporter and outlet and not repurposed for diverse reporters. When targeting specific publications or reporters, take the time to read their past articles to get an idea of their niche and audience.

Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

Any media pitch sent to a reporter must be free from any spelling or grammar errors. Before you send a pitch, ask a team member to review it and scrutinize for any mistakes.

In addition to looking for typos, triple-check that you’ve spelled the reporter’s name and media outlet correctly. Small mistakes like that look like you didn’t do your homework.

Want more pitching tips? Check out our recent agency seminar for pitching pros.

Bailey Hewitt is a Senior Director at All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area,


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