CSULB Professors Give Advice for Effective Email Pitches in the Modern Era of PR
by Brenda Melara
One of the most important skills a public relations professional needs to master throughout their career is how to create an effective email pitch that can grab the interest of journalists, reporters and other content creators. Professors from the Department of Journalism and Public Relations at CSULB have taken the time to give their advice for an effective email pitch in the modern era of PR.
1. Research before pitching
Before crafting an email pitch, it is important to research the subject of the pitch and who the pitch is being sent to.
“Research the outlet and the reporter,” Professor Holly Ferris said. “Understand the types of stories the reporter writes and understand how the publication typically covers similar stories.”
By researching the receiver of the email pitch and the news outlet they work with, you can tailor your pitch specifically to their type of content and audience.
2. Create an informative subject line
The subject line can be what encourages or prevents journalists from opening the email. The subject line should not be flashy and informal, but instead it should be descriptive of the overall pitch and straight to the point.
“Journalists receive many email pitches every day, so your subject line needs to be descriptive and straight to the point,” Dr. Soumitro Sen said. “It shows the journalists you are a serious organization and lets them know what the email is about.”
3. Tell journalist in the lead why they should care
Since with an email pitch there is limited space, it is important to grab the reader’s attention on the very first sentence. When writing your pitch lead, it is important to establish why that journalist specifically should pick up that story.
“You need to establish the importance of your message and its news values,” Dr. Trevor Bell said. “The first thing you need to do is establish why they should cover your story.”
Some people tend to take proofreading for granted, especially when writing in digital form since there are tools that catch errors for us. But without proofreading your message, you risk being unclear and making it more difficult for a journalist to understand us.
“Avoid errors, especially if you don’t know the person,” Dr. Trevor Bell said. “The person will judge you based on what you write and if you’re sloppy it will affect how they see you.”
5. Add useful contact information
For journalists to find the email pitch useful, it is necessary to provide them with our contact information. Also, journalists value when you can provide them with access to interesting sources of information.
“Give me the information I need and give me the access to people who I can talk to about the information that you shared with me,” Professor Gary Metzker said. “I find that aspect of the email pitch the most helpful for the stories I write.”
Regardless of the field you are going into, it is important to be able to create an email that it is clear, concise and relevant for the intended audience. Use these tips from JPR professors to improve your next pitch.
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