Super simple tip to shorten your pitches

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You know when you’re re-reading the pitch you just drafted . . . and you know it’s too long . . . but everything in it is relevant and potentially useful to the journalist you’re sending it to?

And despite all the research you’ve done, there’s no possible way to know which elements will intrigue them versus which you should delete?

I’ve got a solution for that 🙂

Before sitting down to write this I was doing a pitch review session with Inner Circle members. This was a tip I doled out a few times. Something that is so simple that many PR people are overlooking it.

Here you go:

Pick ONE thing (fact, angle, or element of breaking news). Build the pitch around that. Three (short) paragraphs at the most.

Then, when you’re about to close, you add “I’ve included three other possible story ideas below my signature.” Or “news pegs” or “research findings” or “possible expert sources” or whatever you’ve got to offer.

The idea here is to break up the long pitch, giving your signature as a strong signal that you’ve built a coherent whole pitch in just a few paragraphs. So they can get a quick reward of information for investing just a few seconds. Then, if you’ve appropriately intrigued them, they can review the additional info below.

Another approach is to include links to the additional info. That’s a good solution, too. But I like the idea of being able to hook the journalist with the first sentence of your first additional item. . . and then the second item . . . and so on.

Here are the two cases we used today for Inner Circle members:

One was pitching his CEO for media visits while she’ll be in NYC. Brand and stature-wise, she’s not gonna get those visits on name alone. So he wisely included newsy achievements and timely topics she can speak with authority about. Problem was, the pitch was like nine grafs long. So we zeroed in on ONE of those achievements to build the pitch around. Then moved the rest as bullets after he signed off.

Another wanted to pitch her restaurant management group to a trade pub for a feature because of their recent growth. The entire pitch was background about who they are and how fast they’ve grown. So we bumped all that below her signature, and instead focused on one thing they are doing that accounts for their success, that readers of the trade pub can learn from.

Now, none of this matters if your target journalists don’t even open your email. That’s where your subject line is key. I’d like to help you with that, too, but I’m about out of space here. So I’ve included more tips for you below my signature :).

To your success,

Michael

P.S. Here’s an article I wrote about the virtues of a contrarian subject line.

The first video on this page gives five tips for getting your emails opened.

This article was originally published on Jun 21, 2018.