It’s every marketeer’s dream and PR goal: to get your company (or your client) positive recognition from the right people through attention-grabbing media coverage. But how do you ensure your voice is heard amidst thousands?
A journalist gets, on average, between 20 to 40 PR pitches every day, so what kind of PR strategy do you need to ensure your pitch is actually opened, not to mention covered? Here are a few PR tips to help you achieve your goals.
PR tip 1: The email
The subject line
The subject line of your email is the most critical aspect of a great press release. From the subject line, the journalist should know right away what the PR is about. The subject shouldn’t be too long – save the details for your email’s body.
The ideal length of a subject line is around 60 to 80 characters. It should be punchy, accurate, and grabs the journalist’s attention.
Remember, you don’t want to annoy the journalist, you just want to pique their interest. If they find your emails jarring, they may unsubscribe from your mailing list, and you have then lost the chance that they will cover your news in the future.
A great PR tactic is to focus the subject around the industry the recipient is working in. For example, if you’re sending news about the sale of a superyacht that used to belong to a famous sportsman, you could target three different industries: yachting, luxury, and sports news. Therefore, you would need three subject lines, each one highlighting the key details that will interest the specific journalist you are targeting.
Top PR tip: Most journalists will first open their emails on their phones, so make sure your PR is mobile friendly and it fits the screen. They’ll get back to it later on if they feel the subject is newsworthy or relevant to their publication.
There’s no need to go over how to write a PR in detail here, but always remember that the content of the PR must be newsworthy. It’s also useful to back up your key messages with relevant, trustworthy data, such as that provided by emarketers.com.
An effective PR strategy should include carrying out regular media monitoring. This will enable you to bounce off the news and show your brand as an expert in its industry.
Top PR tip: If you don’t have a tool such as Meltwater or Pitchbox to do this for you, check online trusted news sources and the social media platforms with relevant keywords and #hashtags or directly on Tweetdeck.
Day and time of sending
The day and time you send a PR is crucial to its success. Many CRM platforms will enable you to choose the exact time you wish your email to be sent. This is a great feature, especially when sending your news across different time zones. It seems so logical, yet there are still marketers who don’t send the PR at the optimum time of the day – the wrong timing can often see a PR get lost under many other emails.
Don’t send after 5 pm when the journalist may have finished for the day, or before 9 am when the journalist may not have had the chance to check all of his/her inbox.
Top PR tip: According to Agility PR the estimated best day and time is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
Is your recipient a generic news desk email or someone’s personal email address?
You have more chance of success with a PR if you address it directly to the journalist. Check the contact page of the magazine or news site and find out who is more likely to cover a story about your industry. There’s always a way to recover their email address.
Ensure the same thing with your sending address; if your pitch or PR leaves from a generic email address instead of a more personal email address, it has more chance of landing in the recipient’s spam folder and is, therefore, less likely to get picked up.
Finally, always do your own research, and make sure your story fits the type of news and information that the journalists cover.
Top PR tip: To ensure the best chance of success, always send your PR to a personal email address. According to Agility’s PR analytics, 74% of opened pitch emails were from personalised addresses.
PR tip 2: Images and contact information
It’s now common knowledge that even if a journalist opens your email, and is interested in the topic, they may not cover the story. Why? Sometimes they need to be extremely quick and reactive.
Having worked as a journalist for many years, it often happened that while working on a feature, I would receive an interesting PR that offered a different angle to my story and would enhance my article, but only if I had an image to illustrate it.
Adding a couple of images to your PR and a link to additional high-resolution pictures saves time for the journalists and is a great PR tip to help ensure pick-up. If a journalist needs more images or additional information or quotes and has time, they’ll get in touch with you.
PR tip 3: Reminders and follow-ups
As said earlier, journalists get many PR pitches every day. They may not have seen your first email, because they were too busy working on another story. If you have already sent an email with the same information, don’t forget to add ‘reminder’, ‘re’, ‘additional information’ or ‘follow-up’ into the subject line; that way if the journalist was not interested in this topic in the first place, he/she’ll know that this is a follow-up.
If you feel the information in your PR fits the type of coverage they usually do, don’t hesitate to follow up. Either via email or if you know them, pick up the phone or send them an SMS or WhatsApp message. I have also had great success from pitching on Twitter by tagging relevant journalists.
If your CRM indicates that a certain person has opened and read your email several times, make sure to follow up in a personal email, proposing a specific angle to the story.
PR tip 4: Do a last-minute check
We’re always in a hurry to share a great pitch, but don’t let all your PR efforts go to waste. Before sending out a press release, always:
- Double-check your spelling.
- Update your mailing list, if this is not done automatically by your marketing software (e.g. Hubspot or Mailchimp). Don’t send an email to someone who has already ‘unsubscribed’ in the past.
- Create a shareable link with high-resolution images and add it to your email.
- Don’t forget to track either certain keywords surrounding your story or your brand via tools such as Google Alert or Mention, as journalists may not send you a link to their finished article.
Relevance offers a full PR service to help businesses gain the coverage they deserve. Our talented team of PR professionals can help create a bespoke PR strategy, including crafting brilliant press releases, organising personalised press trips, and helping to boost your brand authority by answering selected journalists’ pitches. Our PR team boasts a network of relevant and influential journalists, ensuring excellent brand exposure that is highly targeted. Contact us today.