Monday, April 18, 2011

Must-read: The PR Guide to Email Pitching. Please. Now.

I wish you could hear what I hear when reporters decide to complain at me about how you pitch them. That's why I like to share gems like this one: The PR Guide to Email Pitching, from Jason Falls over at Social Media Explorer.

Falls teases out and stomps on many of your assumptions about email pitches, including the idea that an email pitch sent to a reporter who didn't request it and who doesn't know you is okay. Far from it. He notes it means "you are — at most — introducing yourself. If you do anything more than that, you are spamming them."

You'll get a walk-through about what constitutes spam (that would be any pitch email that doesn't offer a clear and permanent opt-out option), good sample language you can add to your emails to do that, and a stern reminder that building relationships doesn't scale just because you have a directory with a downloadable list of thousands of reporter names. Falls says:
You can build a list all you want, but call each person on it. Reach out to them. And reach out with nothing but getting to know them a bit in mind. If the list is too long for that to be practical, then the list is too long for that to be practical. Edit it
Cleaning up your reporter lists and taking the time to find out their preferences is part of my recommended spring cleaning for communicators. I will now save myself some angry Twitter DMs and add, email the reporters first, as so many of them don't like calls. But either way, introduce yourself and what you've got first.

Now that I'm once again on the receiving end of pitches, I feel compelled to add a big thumbs-up to this post -- and I have two more things to add:  Ditch those gigantic attachment files on your email until the reporter tells you to send them, or make them available online. And consider using a program like Constant Contact or another email service that includes opt-in and opt-out while maintaining your list and a history of what your recipients opened and shared. Make it easier on yourself and the reporters.

What do you think about this guide? Falls is asking communicators to take the time to retweet it, share it on Facebook or email it (with an opt-out, of course) to other communicators you know. Share the wisdom....

Related posts:  Fear of phoning, part 3: Phone tips for communicators who hate to pick up the phone

Tip more, pitch less to reach reporters

Clip to Evernote
Use the Evernote clip button, above, to save this post in an Evernote notebook. Subscribe to For Communications Directors, my free monthly newsletter, which features content before it appears here on the blog.

No comments: