Never guessed this was a hot PR topic

I never thought I’d write a newsletter about this, but based on this experience last week, I have learned many people will find this valuable.

Last week I did a webinar with Muck Rack about how long your media pitch email should be (if you missed it, you can get the recording and ebook free).

When I got to Q&A, there were 177 questions in the queue. As I answered them over the next 75 minutes, it turned out that almost 40 (!) of them were about the same thing. I’ve been doing PR webinars for 15 years and I’ve never gotten that many questions about the same topic.

What was this hot-button issue?

I had made what I intended as an almost throwaway comment about halfway through the presentation: “And don’t send it as an attachment, because that will trigger journalists’ spam filters.”

And that’s when the onslaught began. And then when I started answering those questions, those generated more variations on the theme.

So let’s nerd out over attachments vs. links vs. pasting!

Wait what? Did you just say not to send journalists attachments?

If it’s worked for you before, that’s great, you got lucky. Newsroom spam filters are notoriously strict and I’ve lost count of the number of journalists who have told me never to send attachments because they never see the email. If you’re in an ongoing convo with a journalist, then it’s different and you can attach something if you have to (although linking is still better).

Then how do I share this news release I’m pitching? (or contributed article, or whatever)

News releases are a common PR tactic, but not necessarily effective at securing earned media. Send a customized pitch, and then say, “More info here” and link to your release. That keeps your email short and customized.

But what if . . . ?

If your news isn’t public yet, your CMS probably has a way for you to post your release at a private link that won’t show up in search engines, if not password-protected. If that’s too complicated, just load it into a Google Doc or Dropbox and share that way.

Are links also threats to spam filters?

I know one highly successful agency lead who trained his team never to put links in cold pitches because he thinks links also trigger spam filters. I have not seen evidence of this myself. Maybe there is a slight risk, but the usefulness of including links outweighs the risks. I have even asked this question to an “email deliverability” consultant who I paid to ask nerdy questions like this. Yes, there is a niche of experts who study the factors that make it more likely that email blasts will reach your inbox. He said that links don’t hurt. What hurts is . . . blasting the same message to lots of people who never open it or click on the links therein.

What if I like to just paste the additional info into the body of the email?

Not a big deal if you want to keep doing this. I’ve seen many pitches that landed top coverage that included some form of “I’ve included [blank] below my signature.” The only downside to this is it can make your pitch look really long and maybe intimidating to a harried journalist.

So there you go – you now know more than you ever thought possible about the question of how to share additional info in a pitch!

This article was originally published on March 2, 2023

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