We all have inboxes full of newsletters we don’t read. According to Mailchimp’s 2018 email campaign report, the sector with the highest email open rate is hobbies (27.35%). On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is:
Daily Deals (14.92%)
Effectively, the data tells us that people open a small percentage of the emails they receive on a daily basis.
For busy people with a lot on their plate, there is no time to sift through emails to see what’s spam or not. And because of the volume received – especially for journalists who receive tons of email pitches every day – what tends to happen is that a majority of emails get lumped into the trash bin without even being opened. This happens to a lot of business owners as they attempt to forge relationships with journalists in the interest of getting press for their business.
As you go about pitching cold emails to journalists, you should keep these common failings of email newsletter writing top-of-mind. The question then becomes: how do you stand out from the pack? How do you write the perfect email pitch to catch the journalists eye?
GETTING OVER THE COLD EMAIL SYNDROME
Writing an email to someone that you’ve never had any connection with is called a cold email. While you mostly want to avoid writing cold emails in your professional life, the fact is that journalists actually rely on cold emails for many of their story leads and ideas. This unveils to root of the problem with most story pitches. Journalists are not likely to ignore your email on the grounds that they don’t know you. They are, however, far more likely to overlook your email because it lacks substance or relevance to them. Here is what you need to do to write the ‘perfect’ pitch for each journalist you reach out to.
A Direct and Clear Subject. You can have the most interesting pitch the journalist has ever heard of, but they won’t open your email if your subject line does not pique their interest. A common mistake people make with subject headlines is to be vague or general with their subjects, without even mentioning the article proposition. The key here is to be direct and clear, presenting your request in the five to seven words that resonate with the journalists.
A Personal Touch. The next most important feature is to personalise your email. Turn a cold email into a warm email by stating why you are reaching out to them specifically. You can then delve into brief detail about how much you liked some of their previous writing or feel as though their subject matter expertise makes them an excellent fit for your idea and your audience.
Share Your Proof Points. In fleshing out the email, you want to share any valuable data points about your topic idea, your business, and any past publication exposure you’ve had. Slide these into the email in a seamless way. Don’t dwell on your past achievements or the data points because, although the journalist will be curious to learn about social proof points, you want to keep them complementary to the core point of the email – which is to collaborate on a future article.
TURN COLD EMAILS INTO COLLABORATIONS BY BEING YOURSELF
Ultimately, the challenge in writing cold emails is to overcome the awkwardness of first introductions and be yourself in the email, as much as you can. Dry, technical, or over-the-top language is not going to intrigue journalists; remember that you want to pitch an opportunity to collaborate, not present a practically written article. What will capture their interest is a short email from a reputable source that is direct, to the point, and written only to them.