As any good real estate agent knows, location is everything. Even the most beautiful homes are unappealing if they’re in a bad neighborhood. Location is just as important in PR pitches. A great story angle is not going to attract if you put it in a terrible location in your pitch.
So let’s look at the most valuable slices of real estate in your email pitch.
Your subject line is Las Vegas. It grabs attention in a crowded and boring inbox. It stands out with its flash until journalists can’t resist opening your email. But just like Vegas, a lot of people get into trouble here. Never promise more than you can deliver. If your subject line says “Pop icon to endorse new diet trend,” your email better include an iconic pop star. Never bait and switch.
Your customized intro is San Diego. It’s warm. It’s not overly formal. And it makes the journalist want to stay and keep reading. In this very valuable space you show the journalist you know who they are, what they do, and the stories that are relevant to them.
The next section of your pitch is your compelling story idea, and this is downtown Manhattan. It’s the most valuable space you have, and you use it to put your story front and center in the middle of Time Square, not buried under paragraphs of background info (the email equivalent of somewhere in rural North Dakota.) It’s crowded here, so you’ll have to select your words carefully and may even want to use bullet points.
Lastly, your pitch should tease the additional assets you have to offer and include a call to action. We’ll call this space a vacation home in the Hamptons. It’s valuable, but often goes unused. The majority of pitches do not invite journalists to act, which can make all the difference in whether you get a response or not.
The journalists I invite to critique pitches with my Inner Circle group take about 5 seconds to skim a pitch. Which means it doesn’t matter how great your story is, if you don’t have the right info in the right location, your journalist is going to pass.
The good news is, understanding the real estate of your email pitch will lead to a much higher response rate from journalists. And who knows, that may also lead to your own vacation home in the Hamptons . . . or at least more vacations 🙂
P.S. The “P.S.” section of your email is where you can put in the info intended for people who have been intrigued by what you wrote earlier. For example, we still have slots available for the Secrets of Media Relations Masters workshop in Atlanta later this month :). If you’d like to dive into the pitch structure outline above in way more detail, this workshop is a great way to do that.