Journalists are always looking for their next great story idea.
One of the ways they find them is through PR pitches. Many of the pitches journalists receive will never make it to print because they aren't close to being newsworthy. But sometimes even really good pitches get rejected, usually because they aren't a good fit for the journalist's publishing schedule.
Rather than dumping great pitches in the recycling bin, most journalists archive the best PR pitch emails they receive. When the journalist is looking for a story idea – or more commonly, when he needs a source for a story idea he's already working on – he just searches his email archives. This can happen weeks, months, or, believe it or not, years after the initial pitch wwas sent.
Given that the journalist is going to use search technology to look through his or her emails, it's important to write PR email pitches in a way that will lead to your emails being found by journalists when they search through their email archives.
As a PR-knowledgeable business leader, you should get in the practice of creating well-written PR pitch emails and optimizing them to stand out in an archive search. You never know . . . A solid pitch idea might pay off months or even years down the road.
Here are a few things to consider when pitching journalists via email:
- Rejection follow-up. The optimization process begins as soon as the journalist tells you he isn't going to use your story idea. Follow up a rejection with a quick email, asking the journalist to keep your email pitch on file in case it might be useful later on.
- Keyword development. Take a step back from your pitch and decide what words or phrases most accurately describe your theme. For example, if your pitch is about how a sudden spike in demand for stiletto heels indicates that women increasingly choose fashion over comfort, your key phrases should include women's fashion, fashion as an economic indicator, female buying trends, etc. – not stiletto heels.
- Straightforward subject line. This is a little tricky because the subject line of a pitch email has to grab the journalist's attention. But from a SEO perspective, the words you use here should be straightforward and descriptive rather than overly creative. If possible, incorporate your most powerful keywords into the subject line as well as the main body of the pitch.
- Include a bio. At the end of your email, include a bio paragraph that mentions your field of expertise, your industry, and any areas in which journalists can use you as a source for an article.