Think you have the perfect story for a reporter? You just might have the angle that they are looking for, but how do you go about pitching that story to a reporter? There’s no such thing as a perfect pitch email, but consider the following tips and rules of etiquette to successfully work with a reporter.
Know the Reporter: Make sure you know whom you’re pitching to and why they would be interested. A health reporter isn’t going to write a story about business trends. Do your research, and then deliver a pitch worthy of their time and attention.
Subject Line: It’s important to give the most important information in the subject line of your email. Be as short, concise and relevant as possible or you risk having your email deleted. Show excitement, but remember not to use capital letters, which comes across as yelling through email. It may help to craft a subject line after you’ve drafted the body of the email.
Opening Sentence: Obviously, the first sentence of your email should be compelling. Get to the point quickly. This is your opportunity to further explain your subject line and explain why it should be interesting to a reporter (and their readers). Usually, explaining how it will affect the readers will grab the attention of a reporter.
Body: Use the body of the email to educate a reporter on the information you are offering. You’ve probably already explained the “who” and “what,” so begin to answer the where, when and how. This section lets you tell a reporter why the story is newsworthy. Also consider including a call to action to let the reporter know what to do and who to contact if they are interested in the story you are pitching.
In general, keep a pitch email as simple as possible. Backgrounds and fancy fonts really aren’t necessary, and of course, check for spelling errors. If you intend on including an attachment, make sure to double check that the attachment is actually there. Remember, there is no guarantee that the reporter will be interested in your story, but always remain polite and make sure any future correspondence receives a prompt reply.