When you first start your company, you want to grow your company. You want to get results as quickly as you possibly can. However, like everything that you need to work at, it takes time. You may not have the revenue to create exposure for your business, but once you learn how to pitch, things will work out.
In this guide, we will go into detail about:
- What is a cold email?
- Key components of writing an email pitch
- How to write a cold email
What is a cold email?
Cold emails are email messages which are sent out without any previous relationship or conversation with media outlets. It can be harder than most communication because you don’t have a relationship yet. Moreover, since you don’t have non-verbal feedback, you can’t modify your approach.
Even though cold emails are widely discouraged in marketing, they are an effective way of capturing media attention. In fact, lots of startups have launched through cold emails. An effective cold email does the following:
- Tailors the message to the recipient
- Validates itself
- Focuses on the needs and wants of its audience
- Stays short, easy, and actionable
- Offers a token of gratitude
1) Tailor the message to the recipient
Much like everything else, you need to do your research. When it comes to cold emails, you need to personalize the email as much as you can. Doing this shows that you have thought about who the journalist is, how they see the world, what interests them and what they want. It also shows that you have put work into understanding them.
You need to include why you are emailing them and not anyone else. People are more motivated to help others if they feel like they are uniquely qualified for the task. By telling them exactly where they fit in, you can tell a story that makes sense to them.
2) Validates itself
When we meet strangers, we want to get to know them. The same thing applies when you send an email pitch to people you don’t know. At this point you’ve already done your research on the people who you are emailing, but they don’t know anything about you. For this reason, you need to prove that they can trust you and you are running a credible business.
Usually, networking with journalists in person is a good way to build trust in your brand. Unfortunately, in the middle of a pandemic, networking opportunities are few and far between. At a time like this, all you can do is make the most of the resources at your disposal.
Regardless of whether you’re talking to a journalist offline or online, it’s important to build a relationship with them before you ask for a favour. You can do this online by following them on social media. Beyond simply following them, it’s also important to interact with them. Keep up with the stories they share online and initiate conversations with them. Once you’ve established a positive relationship with a journalist, your name will be familiar to them. Moreover, by the time you send them a pitch, they will be more open to it because they will see you as a friend.
One way to connect with a journalist during the initial pitch is to mention a mutual friend. This shows that if you are no longer a stranger because you’ve got a direct connection with them. However, if you also have any authority, credibility, or social status that might be relevant to the media outlet you are talking to, this helps as well. The more “important” you are, the more likely you are to get a response. Then again, simply being part of the same industry and group is also an important human attraction. You can look for unexpected commonalities to bond over.
3) Focus on what they want or need
If you have figured out a problem that your audience might have, you can try and alleviate the problem by offering relief with your product or service. If you can solve a problem, then you will be giving people something that they want. However, whatever you decide to provide them with, it needs to feel appropriate to the situation.
4) Keep it short, easy and actionable
Shorter emails are more likely to be read than long ones. To make your email even more effective, be sure to request clear, specific actions. One of the best ways to keep it short and simple is to write the way you would talk. This encourages the journalist to read your pitch all the way to the end.
5) Offer a token of gratitude
You need to remember that you are asking someone who does not know you to do you a favour. If you express gratitude, then they will feel really good about helping you. While this might sound like groveling, helping someone to feel appreciated actually generates results. Even simply thanking them for their time can go a long way.
Do you need help connecting with journalists? Pressfarm offers quality media outreach services which can generate the publicity your startup deserves. The PR experts at Pressfarm are skilled at helping startups to connect with the best journalists to tell their story. For starters, they build custom media lists for each client, containing media contacts in their specific industry. In addition, each client gets access to an extensive media database of over 75,000 journalists across industries. With these contact details, you can reach out to the media whenever you have a story to share. If you need help with the pitching process, Pressfarm also has pitch templates which you can adapt to your situation. Beyond helping you connect with the right media professionals, the Pressfarm team can also create quality content to share with these contacts. From writing press releases to developing feature stories and designing creative media kits, Pressfarm has what it takes to help your brand capture media attention.
Tips to help your startup get noticed
When you first start out, it is important to send your emails to the right people. You want to make sure that you are finding the relevant media sources for your company. You can do that by following industry-related publications and searching for the journalist contacts working in those outlets. Before you even send an email, you need to do your research. You need to have prior knowledge and research about the audience and market you are trying to emerge into. Try and read about your prospect writers and gain as much insight into their work as you can.
In today’s world, it is important to build an active presence on social media because everything is shared and posted on social media. You can even connect with journalists by following their social profiles and offering comments on their articles in addition to sending cold emails.
Time to write
When it comes time to writing, it is important that you make a good impression. You need to keep your subject line short, concise and specific. Personalize your email and don’t write like a robot. One way to do this is by mentioning a recent story which the journalist has written. Alternatively, you can refer to a conversation you had with them on social media. Once you’ve done that, jump straight into your story. In order to avoid wasting time on useless information, go by the 5 W’s (What, Why, Who, When, Where).
Your pitch needs to be short and concise to appeal to journalists who are getting so many pitches and emails sent to them daily. If you want a journalist to read your pitch, then you should tell your story in a way that engages the reader.
Another way to attract media outlets is to add visually stimulating content to your pitch. You can even create video pitches with photos and graphics to build visual interest.
Ultimately, you want to be professional and allow them to be able to contact you later on. It’s helpful to finish your email with a question because it invites a reply and raises interest.
The Pitch Itself
The important thing is that when you pitch, you need to be telling a story that is worth sharing.
You also need to realize that media outreach is a two-way street. You need to not only think of what the media outlets are doing for you, but also what you can do for them. Include what you have to offer in your pitch because it will be what attracts them.
Try and be yourself as much as possible. Above all, remember that people like to be spoken to with respect and in a language that they understand. Write and talk how you normally would if you were with your family and friends.
To gain Maximum Impact
It is important to pitch the right story at the right time. It is also important that you keep every email personal because no media outlet wants to be seen as second fiddle. Journalists will be more interested if they see that you’re genuinely interested in working with them rather than just picking the outlet that gives you the best access to audiences.
You also need to give media outlets notice in advance, because they plan for months on the stories they are going to publish. Finally, avoid simple mistakes when writing an email pitch because you could lose credibility.
It is important that you are patient, and there is a fine line between being persistent and being annoying. Give them time to read what you have sent to them. If they haven’t sent a response, wait a few days before you reach out again. Even when you bad news from one journalist, be consistent and email whomever you can. Be committed to your company and try and create goals that will continue to be good for you business.
You can also use other mediums to get your idea across. Do not underestimate non-traditional ways of communicating because they can help you in the long run.
Figuring out how to write the perfect pitch is a work in progress. This is one of those things which you keep learning about. It takes some serious time and effort, but if you understand the audience you are trying to target and the things you can do to stand out from the competition, then you will do a great job.
Cold email pitching can be tough, but keeping in mind the basics will get you a long way. Personalize your approach and make sure to include all the necessary information. This way, the media contacts who you’re pitching will be convinced that you can go over and above compared to your competitors. Pay attention to every aspect of your email pitch from the introduction to the body, and the signature. Detailed information and a well-constructed signature can help you write a pitch that has a higher chance of getting read.