Let’s talk about how to beef up your PR strategy with an email pitch template! If you’re interested in securing podcast interviews, guest posts, or maybe even landing something bigger like a magazine opportunity or digital media feature from different media publications that are out there, keep reading. I’m talking about how to write a pitch for an article, and including real-life media pitch examples … and more.
This video & post is dedicated to the decade of chronologically organized magazines I had neatly sorted under my bed growing up … until my parents made me throw them all away when I moved out. RIP.
So in this post, I’m going to dive into some strategic tips for your media pitch, so you can see how to write a pitch for an article, blog, podcast, or any media opportunity that’s hanging out on your PR strategy dream list.
- The magic word to include in ALL of your PR pitches
- The first copy I include when I write a media pitch (even before the hook)
- The difference in PR and marketing, + multiple media pitch examples so you can swipe copy for your own email pitch template—which you can craft by the end of this post
Quick case study: One January in my business, I challenged myself to pitch 5 different outlets on my media list every Monday for the entire month. I sent this template I’m about to walk you through around 20 times … it helped me secure 11 podcast interviews.
This template works. You just got to use it a lot.
You will get told “thanks, but no thanks.”
Crickets will sing.
That’s simply how the publicity game goes sometimes.
And it’s ok!
Podcasters, journalists, bloggers, editors, PR contacts … they’re all looking out for #1—THEIR audience. As they should. They painstakingly built & earned that audience. They want to serve them well. They’re playing an endless game of matchy-matchy, alligning stories & info their people need with what’s relevant, interesting, or downright exciting.
This is one of MANY email templates I recommend you have in your business. I have a full checklist of 28 I would recommend the average creative have on hand—make sure you download that freebie checklist, and after you make this one, you can check it off!
What is Public Relations: How to Make a PR Strategy & Media Pitch Work for YOU
Fun fact: before I did this whole entrepreneur thing, I studied journalism/PR, worked in corporate marketing, and wrote for magazines—specifically with good ol’ Time Inc. publication. So, I’ve been the pitcher—the one securing coverage thanks to a media pitch in magazines like Bon Appetit and newspapers like USA Today—and the pitchee (if you will), the one writing content for outlets like Style Me Pretty, About.com, and Southern Living, to name a few.
In a quotable nutshell:
“Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”
— Helen Woodward
🙂 … but let’s get some definitions established.
You may be interested in: Marketing & PR Planning 101: How to Build an Editorial Calendar
WHAT IS PUBLIC RELATIONS?
This is your relationship with your publics (surprise!). PR is non-paid marketing, so think podcast interviews, guest blogs, speaking podiums, community involvement, getting featured on Style Me Pretty or Forbes or Elle Decor, styled shoots, etc.
Focus? Primarily, the focus of a PR strategy is reputation. Auxilary results* include profit … but that’s not the #1 goal. That’s further down the funnel.
*This is why “partnerships” isn’t included here … because to me, partnership kinda goes under the sales bucket of marketing … there’s a residual kickback. Aka cash.If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on public relations. Click To Tweet
“Pitching” is the word used for (usually) cold contacting someone to start up a conversation—which is done via a media pitch—about getting coverage or being featured. In a company, it’s the job of a publicist or PR department, which is usually within or connected to the marketing department.
WHAT IS ADVERTISING?
Advertising is paid marketing placements. Pay-to-play, baby. Think ads on any social media platform, paid placements, and some partnerships.
Focus? Primarily, the focus is on profitability—the goal is to make more than you spend, of course.
If you want to dig a bit deeper and build a marketing & PR full plan with both of these tools, check out my post over here.
Okay, let’s dig in, here are the 5 things I want you to have spots for in your pitch email template.
Media Pitch Template Step 1: The Hook
According to a Fractl study in 2020, the majority of journalists would like to see a pitch that’s 100-200 words long. Let me show you what 200 words looks like with some filler copy:
Etsy hexagon tote bag live-edge prism hoodie master cleanse aesthetic wayfarers. Art party unicorn glossier food truck irony intelligentsia. Viral lyft iceland. Portland before they sold out bespoke, umami hexagon humblebrag literally 90’s glossier. Disrupt stumptown church-key green juice. Readymade kickstarter austin lyft, iceland fanny pack brunch.
Leggings activated charcoal, waistcoat drinking vinegar deep v twee semiotics snackwave vice 90’s celiac scenester. Dreamcatcher cred chartreuse asymmetrical. Pork belly prism helvetica health goth mustache pinterest leggings roof party iceland intelligentsia wolf post-ironic deep v asymmetrical. Umami raw denim cronut actually ennui photo booth vaporware snackwave slow-carb raclette yr glossier 90’s enamel.
This is one of those “If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it well enough” situations in life. 😜 That same study above cited that 46.5% of journalists receive at least 11 pitches per day, while 28.64% receive over 26 pitches per day.
I always start off by saying, “I know you’re busy, so I’ll make it quick.” Somebody wrote that in a pitch email to me one time when I was writing some freelance stories, and I really just appreciated it … sometimes, maybe people like to be reminded, “Yes, thank you. This writer DOES have a life, I’m not just sitting here reading these.”
Then, we’re going to break into that media pitch’s hook.
The hook? It’s a quick one-liner that presents why what you’ve got should be interesting to the outlet.
You’re going to put a placeholder here if you’re building a media pitch template because this will change every time in your PR strategy. Journalists are looking for the story. What is the hook that makes your story different and NEWSWORTHY?
That’s important. You’ve GOT to get.to.it.fast. Media outlets are constantly producing stories and content … and the fact that your brand, company, or small business exists … well, that’s not a story by itself.
PR consultant Brigitte Lyons unpacks 7 ways to create a hook in this article, and they’re great (btw, all her stuff’s great. She just teaches PR strategy, and I’ve followed her since before I left corporate when I was looking around at how I wanted to apply my skills to the creative world.).
Here are 7 ways she suggests you could approach a hook:
- Give a twist on something that’s trending in the news
- Bring a national story home by making it local
- Elevate a local story to the national level
- Champion the underdog opinion
- Collect some awesome data and tell an outlet about it
- Work that holiday calendar
- Tie in something new you’re launching to a trend that’s getting big
And when you figure it out, get to it fast.
Here are two media pitch examples of how that hook copy could read:
Media Pitch Example 1
Situation: Creative lawyer pitching to a national outlet for photographers
“A story about a photographer is circulating, as she now owes $45,000 to the IRS for collecting payment without operating as a true business. WHEW! The IRS is no joke! Since your website is devoted to education for budding photographers, I had an idea for a guest post I could write for your audience to protect them from such nightmares—was thinking “4 Legal Must-Do’s Before You Turn Your Photography Hobby into a Job.”
Media Pitch Example 2
Situation: Artist pitching to lifestyle print magazine
“Noticed you just added a pet lovers column (OBSESSED! You mentioned you have a Boykin—that’s what we have, too!), and had an idea for a story. I’m an artist local to the Charleston area, and I actually paint pet portraits … the ultimate gift for the pet lover, right?
Had a couple of story ideas to see if you were interested—maybe a round-up post for pet lover gifts, or a behind-the-scenes look at how artists like me capture likenesses of furry family members.”
One other tool I wanted to mention—my friend and colleague Selena Soo has a FAB PR calendar which is chock full of ideas—think epic story ideas, dates, and hooks to help you become your media list’s favorite go-to expert, smart ways to tackle sensitive & timely issues, and more ideas for making an impact with your media pitches. Click here to download it!
Media Pitch Template Step 2: The Intro
Next, introduce who you are, and explain why you’re coming to this person or this media list contact.
This will probably include a snippet of your bio copy (I have a shop resource in The Copy Bar if you need more hand-holding there) and then another placeholder where you’ll put some personal information and connection.
But my BEST tip here for this part of your media pitch is to make the connection to the human.
What line can you help this person draw to you?
- Do you have mutual friends or clients that connected you?
- Had you read their latest story? Have you used one of their articles to help you out? (Ahem, ahem—this is a good place to start! Stalk their work!!)
- Did you share an alma mater or philanthropy group?
- What is the mutual shared relationship there?
Tie it into why they should care to hear from YOU—here’s a real-life media pitch I secured, and see how I connected my bio to the podcast interviewer, even when I didn’t know her personally … I showed how I’d listened to a ton of recent episodes.
In this post, I talked about my end-of-day edit routine and how I spend a few, focused minutes at the end of each day to build true relationships beyond just the internet with people/peers/colleagues/friends. This is a fantastic time where you can start to solidify those relationships … so if you ever DO want to swoop in their inbox and pitch them on something that you’ve been thinking about, it isn’t totally out of the blue or random. It feels like a less-sleazy PR strategy in my opinion.
Pro tip: look them up on social media … specifically LinkedIn—that’s my favorite spot to find out where someone is in their professional life. Can you dig around a bit to see what they recently wrote, and let them know you read it? If you can dig a bit and find some cocktail conversation starters, it won’t feel totally “cold call.”
Media Pitch Template Step 2: The Pitch Details
Now, give your pitch ideas details.
You can add transition copy in your pitch template that says something like this—
“I have an idea that I think would be great for your PUBLICATION NAME audience.”
“I had a few ideas that would compliment what you have going on.”
Then, you want to give a couple of ideas for the content you could help them with.
Maybe it’s 3 topics that you could cover if you were on their podcast, or maybe it’s 1 to 3 story ideas you could help out with as a guest expert—topics you usually comment on or full ideas you already fleshed out. Though, if you’re only giving one idea, I’d maybe include a couple of other ideas that you’d be available to comment on.
Again, here’s a snippet from a pitch I secured—please remember that this is my work, so just be original as you let this inspire you! 🙂
My pro tip for getting story ideas? Grab a cup of coffee at your local bookstore, and pick up a whole stack of magazines. Then, while you sit and flip through, you’ll see lots of stories that will get your wheels turning.
This can also be a good way to come up with round-up article ideas … watch the YouTube episode above for details on including that in your PR strategy.
Media Pitch Template Step 2: The Thank You & Call-to-Action
Finally, insert a spot in your media pitch template to thank the contact for their time and end with a call-to-action step.
Go for something a bit more than “I hope to hear from you.” Instead, I’d get specific when I pitched. I’d include copy like:
“Is this something you’d be interested in?”
“Is there one of these topics idea you’d like me to pull more details on?”
“Would you mind keeping me in mind as you plan out next quarter’s podcast interviews?”
Wrap it up with a copy snippet like that, or a placeholder if you’re building out your template for your PR strategy.
4 More Media Pitch Examples
Pitched or caught? Caught (came to us)
Cons: 0/10—this person didn’t research my brand at all. Shout out to uh, all the pro boxing fans in my audience? Sure.
Pros: Good CTA line, I actually love that.
Pitched or caught? Caught (came to us)
Cons: None, really … but obviously I’m not a big fan of a CTA that doesn’t ask a question in an email, so that could be better.
Pros: LOVE the first line, easy “yes” … I’ll definitely keep reading. Hyperlinked the brand and I appreciate that. 3 bullet elevator pitch is bril, too.
Pitched or caught? Pitched (I reached out first)
Cons: Kinda long
Pros: Won me a media spot & this person asked (in the first email back) to affiliate for my program. They knew who I was BEFORE I sent the pitch, which … back to that relationship thing I talked up in the video.
Pitched or caught? Caught (came to us)
Cons: None, really.
Pros: Moved the back-and-forth to email and OUT of DMs, where they’d first reached out. Secured a relationship, established that I didn’t want free product but they said when they had a budget they’d be back.
There are some A+ media pitch examples in this article from Prowly, if you want a few more!
2 Quick Bonus Tips to Remember When You Pitch Public Relations Opportunities
Tip #1: There is a magic word that I use all the time when I’m pitching media and partnerships as part of my PR strategy. Big surprise, the word is partner. “How can I partner with you and your brand to give great content to your audience? How can I partner with you to support Q2 product sell-through?” Always, always come to the pitching table from a place of service.
Tip #2: comes from our dear client, Julie Solomon. Julie teaches all the time about pitching different outlets. One thing I learned from her is to hold back your media kits, specifically your pricing, because what you’re trying to do at the beginning is just get them to the next step in the process.
In this cold pitch email, you’re trying to even see if they’re interested. Hold back your media kit, especially if you have any kind of pricing involved. Right now you’re just trying to establish that rapport, that relationship, and see how you can help serve them.
Alright, I hope you learned how to write a pitch for an article or whatever else you’re dreaming up. Now, it’s your turn! What is your favorite media outlet or publication you’ve consumed lately—is there a magazine you always read, or a podcast you never miss? I’d love to hear below!
Now you know a little bit more about my marketing routine, make sure to check to this post where I walk you through what I do at the end of every day—especially as a busy working mom—to make sure that I’ve at least tackled the big things that will help keep my business moving towards its goals.
Don’t forget to grab that full list of PR strategy ideas & learn more about how to write a pitch for an article from my friend Selena! Until next time, remember to set up sustainable writing systems in your business so you can work from a place of rest, not hustle.
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