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Want the Best Pitch? The No-Fail Checklist For Improved B2B Public Relations

Posted by Wendy Marx

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In the B2B public relations sphere, it’s hard work to find a journalist to open your email, let alone cover your story. Why's that? With layoffs continuing to dwindle their numbers down, journalists are racing to keep up with the busy pace of modern media. What does this mean for you? Don’t waste their time. Their finger is already poised on that delete button, so you need to give them a reason to open and consider your pitch.

 

Think of your pitch as the opening of a sales call. You need to sell the reporter on covering your news. Capture the reporter’s attention from the first sentence -- a “you had me at hello” kind of reaction. If you can’t do this, your pitch is toast.

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Think short, simple, to the point. The reporter cares about doing his job better. How can you help him to do that?  

Your Checklist to a B2B Public Relations Email Pitch That Hits It Out of the Park

1. Do Your Research

Journalists have their own beats -- subjects that they write about. Do your research thoroughly so that your pitch will be relevant, not an annoyance. You wouldn’t want to send a product review pitch to a reporter who covers the arts beat.

Use free services like Muck Rack to learn as much as you can about a reporter, and see how to connect with him. Use a media database like Cision to read the reporter’s stories in advance, or go onto their publication’s website and check out what he's written recently.

 

Among the worst of the worst pitches I’ve ever received are those that aren’t even relevant to me. --Sujan Patel CLICK_TO_TWEET.png

 

2. Use Social Media to Interact

When possible, develop a familiarity with a reporter on social media. Follow him or her on Twitter. This will allow you to see what he tweets about. Retweet and comment on some of his stories, so that your name will become more familiar to him. Don't miss an opportunity to build a positive rapport.

If you get your name in front of me before you email me, chances are I’m going to be much more responsive. --Sujan Patel CLICK_TO_TWEET.png

 

Handpicked Related Content

6 Important Trends That Will Impact Social Media for B2B 

 

3. Personalize Your Pitch

Save your pitch from becoming trash with a personal touch. A cookie-cutter copy that was obviously sent to dozens of other inboxes won’t impress anybody. A little detail can go a long way to making your pitch more memorable and compelling.

You might reference an article that the reporter has written that pertains to your story idea. For example, you could begin with: “Given that you have written about climate change, I wanted to give you a head’s up about a new research study that presents a different perspective on climate change.”

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4. Craft Your Subject Line Carefully

Your subject line needs to be delete-proof. Get to the point, and make it clear what your idea offers the journalist.

Here are a couple of examples:

Bad Example: New Security System Coming to Market Soon

Good Example: Heads Up: New Secure Keyless System Poised to Transform Retail Operations

Notice the first example doesn’t tell much about why this story is newsworthy. What makes the system new and exciting? What will the new product do for the market? Who will be affected by this announcement? The second example does all of this in one simple sentence.

Bad Example: Company X and Company Y Create Partnership

Good Example: New Partnership Means Greener Initiatives For The Tech Industry

First of all, nobody cares who Company X and Y are -- at least not in the subject line. Unless it’s an exciting company like Apple, you should focus on why the partnership is exciting. What makes it different from any other partnership? That will be the reason a reporter takes the next step and opens your email.

On a final note, avoid being cutesy -- while it may work in your Twitter feed, journalists who receive hundreds of pitches every week don’t want cute or humorous. They want to know if this email is worth their time.

 

Get the subject line wrong, and you may as well send a blank email. --Sujan Patel CLICK_TO_TWEET.png

 

5. Use Just the Unvarnished Facts

Don’t puff up your pitch with bloated language -- with words such as “amazing,” “unique,” or “sensational.” Your news or product needs to stand on its own merits. Let the facts speak for themselves.

(To learn how to land more local media coverage for your B2B, click here.) 

6. Don’t Beat Around the Bush

Why are you writing? What are you offering? If the reporter has to hunt through long-winded paragraphs to find these answers...well, let’s just say he won’t.

You might word your introduction this way: I’m writing to offer you an advanced, embargoed briefing and materials on a [fill in the blank] that does [fill in the blank]. It replaces [fill in the blank] to do [fill in the blank].

Don’t use 50 words when 10 will do. Your basic message can be crowded out when you over-complicate your language. A good tip is to make a personal competition of cutting down your sentences every time you read through your email.

Related Content: 5 Ways to Create a Successful, Integrated B2B PR Campaign

 

7. Add Compelling Statistics Whenever Possible

The age-old question, “Why should I care?” rears its ugly head. In B2B PR, statistics are the best way to answer that question. It tells why this news or product is so exciting. If you have them, use them.

For example, According the latest National Retail Survey report, nearly half of all US retailers reported [fill in the blank]. 

 

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8. Say What You’ll Do

Offer additional help or an interview. You could say, I’m happy to arrange an interview with [title of your spokesman] to discuss this further and do [fill in the blank].

9. Offer to Send More Information or Materials

Your pitch itself needs to be short and sweet. Never automatically attach extra materials to your email. You might offer these materials this way:

I would be happy to send you an embargoed press release and background material.

Or…

I can also share [fill in the blank, i.e. videos, visuals, or other background material] at your earliest convenience.

10. Check Your Spelling and Grammar Thoroughly

Nothing will kill a pitch quicker than spelling and grammar mistakes. For busy journalists who read dozens of pitches, these mistakes can appear as eyesores and decrease the value of your pitch. Always double and triple check your email -- better yet, have a fresh pair of eyes give it a once-over.

Related Content: How a B2B Public Relations Person Can Write a Press Release That Doesn't Completely Suck 

A Few Points to Remember…

  • Make your email as personal as possible
  • Keep your subject line short and informative
  • Don’t overdo it with flowery language -- get to the point
  • Use facts and statistics whenever possible
  • Offer to send additional background materials


Now you’re ready to craft a killer B2B PR pitch that journalists can’t help but read. Whether you write it yourself or have a qualified B2B PR agency do it, these tips will pave the way to your success. Happy pitching!

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Nov 18, 2016
 
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Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Icon™.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx