Top 6 tips for sending a better press release email to journalists
Yay, your press release is published! It’s now on its way to being distributed in hundreds of media outlets like NBC, ABC, CBS, and Reuters.
Well, what’s next? Don’t sit and wait.
You need to start promoting your press releases, and there are two ways to go about this: social media and email pitch.
In this blog post, we are going to focus on the later - how to email your press release to journalists - what to do when you title a press release email and other best practices.
(If you are interested in learning more about social media, read my other blog post: How to Develop Positive ROI with Media Relations.)
Before we go into the details, let's understand the scene.
Journalists are receiving hundreds of press releases and emails from those people in the PR, and they are going to pick just a few noteworthy ones. The rest often ends up just skimmed through or worse, deleted.
That’s why your email pitch to journalists needs to stand out if you were even going to send one. Here’s a list you need to keep in mind when you send out your press release to a journalist or reporter.
1. Craft a different email subject line
First, never send out an email with no subject line.
The purpose of the subject line is to inform the recipient what the message is about, and to a certain extent pique their curiosity and interest.
So if you are sending an empty email subject line, it's not saying much. So why would journalists even bother to read?
Besides, email overload is a real issue that many of us face today but imagine it being five or ten times worse in the case of journalists and reporters.
They receive a ton of emails every day, from public relations and businesses that are trying to pitch their event, product or services to get some press coverage.
Plus, they are super busy people, they need to attend press conferences, research stories, keep up with the latest news and trend in the industry, as well as writing the actual news out for readers.
Emails, at this point, may sound like the least of their priorities. But that might be further than the truth because journalists like emails.
Michael Grothaus, an editor from Fast Company said: "If there was one universal agreement among the journalists I spoke to, it was our preferred contact method: email."
He explained that although this communication method may seem old in the age of social media, it's a medium that works best since a single message contains everything we need to know (if crafted correctly) and can be read and reply at a journalist's own leisure.
The challenge then is, the presentation and it starts with your first impression: the email subject line and here're some tips.
- Do Personalize
Take some time to learn about who you are contacting because when you are reaching out to a journalist or reporter, you're asking them to dedicate their time to researching and writing about your company.
So that's why it's important to show them some respect. Besides, it will greatly benefit you if you get yourself acquainted with the person you are pitching.
What news does he or she cover?
Besides, it's about establishing connections and will make a great starter to your email if you say something like "Hi Joe, I saw your story on the fundraiser in Idaho the other day and I was hoping you might cover..."
Note that every email subject line should continue into the content.
One thing a lot missed is that they came up with a fantastic email subject line, their content, however, doesn’t match up.
- Use Active Verbs
Influencer Is The New Brand Ambassador for Sports Company
What would you feel if you found this email subject line in your inbox? Nothing?
Passive sentences like the example above can sound a bit dull or neutral.
Imagine the same announcements using the active tense - Sports Company Signs Influencer as Brand Ambassador - isn't that more exciting?!
- Keep it Direct and Concise
You might be tempted to send a clickbait subject line for your email, but remember your goal is not to get a click but a coverage.
Always use a subject line that is specific and concise to let journalists know exactly what to expect.
As a rule of thumb, your subject line should be the highlight of your press release announcement and make sure to write in a way that it matters.
At times, being straightforward pays. Let journalists know it's a PR in your email subject line. This caters straight to those who are okay with reading press releases
- DON'T SHOUT
Avoid writing your email subject lines using all caps.
Because instead of coming through as high priority, it might read like you're shouting and it can tick off certain journalists.
2. Don't Add Your Press Release as a File Attachment
Downloading a file from a stranger, hmmm it’s an extra step. Not to mention there’s a possibility of getting infected by a virus which steers people away from it.
Journalists - and actually almost everyone - won’t go opening attachments from people they don’t know. That means the press release doesn’t get read.
There is no reason why you can’t copy and paste or screenshot your press release into the body of an email.
If it’s something long or graphically intensive, you can always put it on your website and provide a link.
3. Be short and persuasive
When it comes to writing your email content, you need to be short and persuasive.
Remember you're selling your story.
So you need to highlight the points that are important (you can literally bold them) and a rule of thumb is to always put yourself in the journalist's shoe.
Help them find out the why and keep it short.
4. Don't Broadcast - make every email personalize
Avoid forwarding emails or sending the same email to every journalist, at least not in a way that they are informed.
If it’s just one person, just type in the email address at the “To” line. Or if you are sending to more than one email, use the "BCC" (Blind Carbon Copy) line.
Every email should be personalized. Avoid cutting and pasting the same email template or sending the same email to hundreds of people especially at the "To" line.
Because if they see other journalists already covering it, they might be less interested.
5. Use the right email to contact
Do you use a free email service? While it’s not wrong, it a best practice to email from your company email with the same domain.
Not only does it tell right away that it’s from someone associated with the website.
You can also add your company logo in your email footer, but make sure these images are able to appear properly in the emails because sometimes it might become unreadable.
6. Leave Your Contact Information
Yes, they can always hit reply but it’s a best practice to drop your contact information, be it your phone number or email again.
It can be something like:
"I hope you can use this or if you have any further questions, just simply contact me at phone number."
It lets them know how to contact you if there's any additional information you need as well as being a great way to end your email.
This will signal them what they need to do next.
One last note, follow up with your emails but leave some time before the next email, cause nobody likes an obnoxious texter.
Also, always remember that sending an email pitch for your press release is more about nurturing the relationship with journalists and reporters.
There you have it, these are the tips on how to email a press release to journalists or reporters.
Lastly, do you have any tips of your own - share them at the comment section down below.