We public relations folk love our email. We check it non-stop throughout the day and seem to hit the SEND button like it’s going out of style. It’s our jobs to communicate and pitch the media and most of the time email is the best arrow we have in our quiver to do to that. But on a number of occasions when we use email to pitch the media it can also be the worst. Here’s why.
An NPR correspondent in Los Angeles recently told me that on an average day she receives between 50-60 email pitches from PR people. That means the amazing story idea you cooked up for your client is currently in line with 60 other pitches hoping to be read or (most likely) sent to the TRASH. So how can you improve the odds of your pitch being read and well received?
Write out your pitch email on a mobile phone.
We all know pitches need to be interesting, targeted to a journalist’s audience and brief. That last part – brief – is where your mobile phone comes in. The next time you come up with a great pitch don’t open your laptop, instead take your phone out of your pocket and get your thumbs moving.
Most of us are guilty (myself included) of drafting a pitch on our computers that reads more like a short novel and less like a killer story idea. The media don’t have time to read our “pitch novels” and no matter how many you write Barnes & Noble isn’t going to invite you to do an in-store book signing.
While we’re all good at typing on our mobile devices these days, the emails we tend to send from them remain significantly shorter than the ones we send on our computers because, well, who can write a novel on their phone?
Writing a pitch on your phone isn’t going to make it any more interesting if it isn’t already, but it does force you to be creative and to the point. In some cases the subject line of your email is all you have to catch the eye of the journalist.
Another journalist, this one at MSNBC.com, told me in an email that she “get[s] so many email pitches some days it’s hard to get to all of them. First thing I do is scan all the subject lines, and they’ve got to be good to convince me to jump in. And by “good” I don’t necessarily mean clever. I mean they need to convey the most important/interesting info concisely.”
So there you go. Next time you’re writing out a pitch, try drafting it on your phone instead of a computer screen. And while I don’t think it should necessarily be anyone’s lifelong goal to be remembered as one of the greatest emailers ever, it doesn’t hurt to try new techniques to help improve the way we communicate.
[I wrote this blog post on an iPad. I hope it was to the point.]