The Importance of Personalized Media Outreach

Two journalists and a PR professional posing for a photo
May 31, 2016
Two journalists and a PR professional posing for a photo

Left to Right: Jess Nelson, Freelance Writer and Contributing Editor at MediaPost; Deanna Contreras, former CNN Producer; Gabi Jasinski, Bospar

It’s time to get to know the people you’re pitching.

As a senior account associate at Bospar, my days are filled with account management, content development, pitch writing and, of course, building and maintaining relationships with the media. As every PR person knows, editors and journalists can be our best friends or our worst enemies. In an ideal world, we have the time to forge personal relationships with each of our key media targets.

In the real world, that’s often easier said than done. Meanwhile, reporters receive hundreds of emails and PR pitches a day. So how does a PR professional make a pitch stand out?

Personalize, personalize, personalize! Personalizing each pitch you send out will result in a higher likelihood that a reporter will open and read your email and, ultimately, write about your client. Some points to consider:

Craft a creative subject line

Nothing hurts your chances more than a long, boring subject line. Make sure it’s short, to the point and relevant to your pitch.

Refer to recent stories

Before you begin writing your pitch, read through the recent stories the journalist has written. Look at their writing style and pick out thematic trends in their articles. It also helps to check out what they’ve been tweeting and posting on LinkedIn. When you begin writing your pitch, refer back to a specific story that you found interesting and explain why you liked it.

Make it succinct

Like your subject line, make sure the pitch itself is brief. No one wants to read an email that’s 500 words long. Avoid buzz words and get to the point quickly.

Follow up

Keeping in touch with the journalist is also important to help ensure that your email has been opened and read. Because journalists are receiving so many emails a day, it’s easy for a pitch to get buried in their inbox. Check in with the journalist regularly and bring fresh news to their attention.

Last but not least, remember that journalists are people, too. You want them to write stories about your clients. They want interesting news to write about. The best way to get what you both need is to get to know them.

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