Get your email pitches opened—and covered—with these tips

by | May 17, 2018 | Public Relations

If you know you have an informative, well-targeted pitch but still can’t any attention from reporters, just stop and consider these stats: nearly half of all journalists worldwide receive more than 25 email pitches a day, while producing fewer than 25 pieces a month, according to a 2017 report from PR tools and database provider Agility PR Solutions.

So now you know what a battle you’re facing, and the kinds of odds your pitch is up against. It makes rejection less of a letdown, but your client still needs you to get that coverage—and reporters still need good pitches. So if you want your pitches to stand out, you need to change your approach. This new Agility report shows you how.

Agility’s database service includes a distribution tool that allows users to send their targeted pitches right from the brand’s platform. The firm did some extensive research and located clients’ highest-performing pitches and then contacted those companies to find out what they were doing right.

Get your email pitches opened—and covered—with these tipsThe insights were revelatory—and armed with the tips provided in Agility’s new report, you’ll be able to replicate those stellar results for your own pitches. Here are some of the findings:

Subject line

This could be the most important part of your pitch because the subject line alone determines whether a reporter will open the email. What are the components of a successful subject line?

  • Length: The best subject lines ranged from 136 characters at the high end all the way down to 29 at the low.
  • Who sent it: The from line in the best pitches was always personal—i.e., from an actual person, not a company or department.
  • Time sent: The analysis revealed that the most successful pitches were sent on Mondays, in the mid-afternoon.
  • Number of recipients: There’s no magic formula for this, but Agility’s analysis found that the larger the list, the lower the open rate. But there are exceptions, depending on the type of news you’re pitching. The report reveals more insights into all of these components.

Click-through rates

Getting your emails opened is a great start, but that’s no guarantee of coverage. In many ways, that’s when the real work begins. What types of pitches were most likely to get click-throughs?

  • Day and time sent: Your mileage may of course vary, but Agility’s analysis found the pitches sent on Tuesdays around noon got the most clicks
  • Personalization: Although coddling reporters seems to be more touchy-feely, the analysis reveals that it didn’t have much of an impact on the pitch’s success. Three-quarters of the successful pitches reviewed were just copy-and-pasted releases.
  • Links included: Journalists indeed look for links in pitches, and the best ones reviewed contained roughly six or seven links, sending reporters to company websites, YouTube videos and Dropbox or Google Drive folders.
  • Length: This of course depends on how much you have to say, but if you have the info to substantiate a long pitch, these seemed to work best. The average length of the best pitches analyzed was more than 800 words.

Download Agility’s report, How to get journalists to open, click, and love your email pitch, to get more insights on those components, along with an example of the most successful pitch in the analysis, and lots of pro tips from the practitioners who got the best results.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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