Tips for Crafting a Cold Email Pitch to Get Press

Web Accessibility and PR

You can use cold emails to pitch the press (or journalists) stories and press releases, offer them products and special offers and promote the events you’re hosting.

However, crafting a cold email pitch to get press coverage can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have the right approach or planning.

But don’t worry. We’re here to help. Keep reading this post to find out how you can craft cold email pitches that are more likely to be read and answered.

Let’s begin!

What is a cold email and how to write an effective one?

Cold emails are emails (duh!) sent to journalists, media outlets, bloggers, and influencers who don’t know you. In other words, they are “cold” towards you and your business.

Because of not having a previous relationship with the recipient, cold email pitching can be more complicated than other forms of communication.

However, a few tips can help you achieve the most out of your cold emails and boost your chances of getting coverage in prominent media outlets.

(By the way, while we‘re on the subject of startups, here are a few DIY PR tips to help your new business grow.)

Now back to the topic at hand — here are a few things that you should do to write an effective cold email pitch for media outreach:

1. Do proper research to spot your sources.

I know this might come off as a silly question but if your business sells hunting gear, will you send a cold email pitch to a beauty product magazine? No, right?

Sending your cold email pitch to a relevant person is super important. But where do you find relevant influencers or journalists?

It’s easy. Follow and track down industry-related publications using the internet and major search engines (go beyond Google!) and make a list of journalists you think are relevant to your industry.

You can also easily find leading publications about your niche by reading daily news related to your industry and finding writers that cover the topics related to it.

Once you’ve read through a bunch of articles written by certain (relevant) individuals, you’ll start to learn more about their style as well as their favorite topics.

You can then use that information to build a connection with the journalist you’ve been reading and pitch your idea, business, or product better.

Writing an email pitch to a journalist without understanding what they write about, their audience, and what they find important is sure to turn them off.

2. Refrain from using the classic cold email subject line.

The subject line is one of the most important factors that determine your cold email open rates. You could spend an entire week writing the best cold email pitch you’ve ever written, but all of that effort will go to waste if no one opens and reads it.

To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, you need to use a compelling subject line. Even though this might sound obvious, the reason why most cold email pitches are never read is a poorly written subject line.

Just open your email inbox to see how many cold emails are in there that you’ll probably never go through. You can only ever read so many subject lines like, “We are the leading digital PR agency for startups.”

So how do you create a good subject line? Figure out what you’re trying to say and boil it down to roughly 5-7 words. Once you write a subject line, make sure that it sparks your reader’s interest and mentions what you’d like from the exchange.

An excellent way to draw someone’s attention is to use their name in the subject line. Examples include, “John, here’s our latest white paper” or “Rebecca, still searching for an email automation tool?”.

3. Personalize the message according to the recipient.

When writing cold emails, you should personalize them as much as possible.

Personalizing your cold email pitch demonstrates that you have taken the time and effort into understanding the journalist and aren’t simply sending generic mass email pitches to get press without being genuinely interested in a prospect.

Mention what you want and who you are in the initial few sentences. It would help if you also mention why you’re contacting them and not anyone else. Humans are more likely to help others if they feel especially qualified for a task.

By letting them know why you were attracted to them and exactly where they fit into all of this, you will be able to tell a story that makes much more sense to them.

Mentioning the recipient’s name in the email is also a good idea as it can add an additional layer of personalization to your email.

Learn business english to further step up your communication skill.

Lastly, you should consider politely acknowledging their recent work. A little bit of appreciation, compassion, and warmth goes a long way in making cold emailing successful!

4. Provide social proof to validate yourself.

Whenever we meet someone new, we want to know them better. The same principle applies when you send an email pitch to someone you haven’t met before. You are a stranger and must shed off that label.

Since your recipient doesn’t know anything about you, developing trust is essential. To show a journalist that you’re running a proper business and are trustworthy, you need to present some social proof.

One way to do this is to mention something or someone you may have in common with your recipient. This shows that you’re not a total stranger and that there is some form of connection between the two of you. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes find unexpected things to bond over.

If you have actual authority, social status, or credibility that might be relevant to the people you’re emailing, then it’s good to mention that as well. The more “important” a person feels you are, the greater your chances of getting a positive response from them.

Be clear why the reader should care about what you have to say and back up your claims using results and social proof. The more individuals you can say have used your service or product, the better.

This is because journalists are more likely to trust you and be receptive if they can see that a bunch of other people also like what you’re offering. This can include clients, customers, or even family and friends who have used what your business offers. Be sure to point out and mention the results you’ve helped them achieve.

5. Focus on the reporter’s pain points.

If you’ve discovered a problem that the journalist’s target audience might have, you can try offering a solution to that problem in your email.  This helps you convince them to hear you out and try doing what you recommend.

It’s also important to remember that what you think is important news doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be interesting to a journalist.

Before even sitting down to write your pitch, you should make sure to define your story and ensure it is newsworthy. Many reporters hate wasting time reading a story that doesn’t appeal to their audiences.

This is precisely why when you’re writing a pitch, you have to consider what kind of media outlet your target reporter writes for and what their audience is like.

For instance, most people wouldn’t be interested to know about a new CEO your company has hired unless they’re from another huge company or a prestigious university.

On the other hand, if what you have to say can potentially affect your local community for the better, then you should definitely share the news with the local press, as this is something that their audience will likely be interested in.

6. Keep it concise and to the point.

It’s never a good idea to beat around the bush and leave the reader guessing about what you’re trying to say.

So instead of wasting their valuable time with unnecessarily wordy and long opening paragraphs, try to keep your content qualitative and concise and get to your point quickly in a cold email pitch.

As a general rule of thumb, shorter emails are far more likely to be read than long ones, especially when it comes to emails that request specific and clear actions.

An excellent way to keep it short and straightforward is to write how you normally talk. Try making your email sound as natural as possible, avoid power words like the plague, and use easy-to-read language.

Never go overboard with fancy words and long sentences or you might come across as “stiff” and so formal that the reader might get cold feet and ignore your email altogether.

7. Express gratitude.

Lastly, you need to realize that you’re asking a stranger you don’t know to help you out and do you a favor.

Expressing some gratitude and even a bit of vulnerability (as groveling as it may sound to some) can make the recipient feel good about helping you out and may motivate them to respond to your request.

All of this may sound obvious; however, very few cold emails are able to do this properly.

A low effort “Thanks” or an entitled tone and demanding language like “Let me know how quickly I can expect a reply” can have repercussions and make the reader less likely to help you.

Don’t forget to follow up!

If you don’t get a response from the recipient of your cold email pitch after a few days, you should always consider following up with them.

However, it’s important to be patient and make sure to wait long enough so that they’ve had enough time to read your pitch first. Always remember, there’s a fine line between being persistent and annoying!

If they say that they’re not interested or don’t reply to your follow-up email, then there’s no point in wasting resources and spending time on that lead any further. Simply let them be and start mailing other journalists instead (there are a lot of them out there).

Bonus tip: Send cold email pitches only to influential people in your niche. Ensure their email address is correct and never forget to provide your contact details for a quick response. Email signatures (that include important contact information) not only look professional but also make it easier for the reader to get back to you.

To sum it up…

Cold emailing can be difficult but having a good handle on the fundamentals can help you write almost perfect emails.

Remember to only cold email individuals closely related to your industry and personalize the message as much as possible. Then provide social proof to validate yourself and build trust with the recipient.

It’s also crucial to make sure that the email is well-structured, brief, easy to read, and sounds natural to boost its chances of getting a response. Having a clear and to-the-point subject line helps in this regard.

Lastly, be sure to show gratitude and include relevant contact details to make it easier for them to get back to you. And if they don’t respond to your pitch soon, be patient and go ahead with a follow-up email a few days later.

About The Author

Mihael D. Cacic is a content marketing consultant at 21writers, and a content strategist for Voila Norbert.