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A Top Journalist on Getting Publicity by Cutting Through the Clutter [5 Tips]

I recently connected with a friend who writes for a top national consumer media outlet and gets hundreds of publicity pitches a day. She said that it’s impossible to get through all of them, so she typically gives priority to those that come from PR people she already has a relationship with. Then she’ll open pitches that have a subject line that piques her interest or those that are offered up as exclusives. The rest are pretty much labeled dead on arrival.


Some interesting insights on cutting through the clutter and getting your pitch read:


  • Keep the subject line brief. Think about when you get emails from people you don’t know. Do you like to read long subject lines or are a few words sufficient to determine if it’s an email that requires attention? Less is more.


  • Get to the point. Your pitch should be brief and get to the point as fast as possible. She noted that PR people still tend to over editorialize their pitches. An opening sentence with some supporting information and your contact information usually does the trick.


  • Bullets are best. The key points of your pitch should be bulleted. It’s easier to read when the contents are bulleted, and for a busy journalist, that’s extremely important.


  • No attachments. Rather than attaching documents, images or one-sheets, which can cause an email pitch to go to spam, it’s best to offer to send these items and any additional information in a follow-up email upon request. Keep in mind, the reporter will request more information if they’re interested. The initial email should provide enough detail to pique the reporter’s interest. If they need more detail, they’ll ask.


  • Know the outlet you’re pitching. If you’re pitching a reporter who covers a particular section, don’t send something that’s totally off base or ask the reporter to pass along the information to the appropriate colleague. Take a few minutes and do your homework. That’ll make everyone’s job easier in the end.


My friend said that it’s perfectly fine for business owners or individuals to reach out directly, and believe it or not, 20% of the pitches she receives are from business owners who follow her on social media or read one of her articles and tracked down her email, which is easy to find online.


At the end of the day, if you’re looking to get some coverage for your brand or business, nothing should hold you back. Use these insider guidelines from someone who gets hundreds of pitches a day!

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