Digital PR

How To Write A Pitch: 7 Tips For Pitching Your Startup To Journalists [Examples & Templates]

Orian Tal September 22nd, 2021

If you’re about to write and send another cold email pitch hoping to get a backlink or brand mention, stop right there.

Because unless you know how to write a pitch, your email will likely be among the 91.5% of cold pitches that journalists and media publications ignore.

I don’t want that to happen to your pitches.

And this is why I’ve written this article in which I’ll tell you exactly how to write a pitch that stands out from the crowd and gets your startup featured in the top news and media publications.

Sounds interesting?

Keep reading.

What Is A Media Pitch And Why Is It Necessary?

Pitching or media pitching is the process of reaching out to influential bloggers, journalists, and media publications in your niche to promote your product or tech company. The goal of a pitch is to persuade a journalist or content creator to cover your news story or product. 

Knowing how to write a pitch is just as important as knowing how to write a press release.

A successful pitch can result in priceless media coverage for your brand, help you earn positive PR in other publications, and open numerous business opportunities.

Here’s an example of a successful media pitch by Remy Tennant, the CEO and founder of DateID, a dating background checks company.

It’s a simple email, right? But like every successful email pitch, it gets the job done.

If you know how to write a pitch, you can also land precious media coverage for your tech startup and attract customers and investors to your website, just like Remy did as you can see below.

7 Proven Tips For Writing A Winning Media Pitch For Your Tech Startup

Research shows that popular media publications and journalists get anywhere between 50 to 500 cold pitches every week.

Unfortunately, nearly half of these pitches are either useless or only slightly valuable to the publications. 

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So how do you write a pitch that stands out and catches your prospects’ attention?

Here are a few tips for answering this question.

Pitching Tip #1: Research Your Target Journalists

What’s the first rule of successful pitching? Research the right journalists who are likely to accept your pitch.

To find them, start with the most obvious places. 

For example, let’s say you’re trying to find the right journalists and bloggers to cover your project management software.

Start with a simple Google search like “best project management software 2021”.

Leave review sites like Capterra, G2, SoftwareAdvice, etc., since they have a different process for featuring products.

Focus on personal blogs and media sites. 

For example, the first site on this page is AdamEnfroy.com, a super high authority site that features the top project management tools.

This is an ideal site to pitch your product.

But don’t stop here. Plug this URL in SEMRush to find the sites linking to it.

More than 500 sites have linked to this article which means they’re interested in this topic and potential targets for your pitch.

Google News is another place to find journalists covering your topic. For example, here’s what it shows for the keyword “project management.”

These are recent news stories covering different aspects of project management and are ideal for pitching your product.

But how do you persuade them to feature your brand? Let me answer this in the next point.

Pitching Tip #2: Have A Newsworthy Angle To Your Story

Here’s the sad truth about PR, and I can’t stress this enough – journalists don’t care about your product or company.

They care about providing value to their readers and making their stories credible by featuring relevant examples, data, case studies, and products.

If you want a journalist to feature your brand in their stories, find a way to make your content newsworthy. Provide them value that makes their story looks more credible and valuable to their readers.

For example, give them a real-life example or case study of a business that has achieved outstanding results with your product.

Or share a comprehensive study, survey results, or data that journalists can feature in their stories.

Here’s an excellent example of a newsworthy story by BuzzSumo.

It has more than 700 unique backlinks from sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, TNW, SEJ, and numerous other high authority publications.

The value it provides means every journalist in the marketing niche (and many other niches) would gladly feature this story because it has such rich data.

So the next time you’re pitching to journalists, ask yourself if it adds any value to their publication or story. If the answer is a resounding yes, go ahead. 

But if it’s a flat no, think of ways to make your story newsworthy before pitching.

Pitching Tip #3: Nail The Email Subject Line

Research shows that 47% of recipients open emails based on their subject line.

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So essentially, your email subject makes or breaks your pitch.

There’s no perfect email subject template. But longer and personalized subject lines (35-50 characters) perform the best.

For example, if you’re promoting a new survey report you’ve just published, the following email subjects will be more effective than generic subject lines like “Loved your post” or “Quick question.”

  • “I have useful data for your next article.”
  • “I read your last article, here’s fresh data for you.”
  • “New data for your article on [topic].”

These are more personalized and descriptive subject lines that evoke interest and persuade recipients to open your emails.

Pitching Tip #4: Avoid Copy/Paste Pitches With No Personalization

If you’re about to send a copy/paste outreach pitch without any personalization, please stop.

Because all those email templates have been used millions of times and most editors can recognize them from the first sentence.

This image by Ahrefs brilliantly explains everything that’s wrong with such generic emails.

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The only place these emails go is the Junk folder.

So even if you’re using an outreach template, tailor it to your recipient’s needs.

Here’s an excellent example.

It’s not a copy/paste email, addresses the recipient by name, and goes into precise details of what it wants and offers in return.

Plus, the guide they’re promoting is relevant to the site’s content.

This is the kind of personalization that works in pitching.

Pitching Tip #5: Write A Short And Focused Pitch

Nobody has time for long stories, especially journalists. So don’t hurt your chances of getting a response by long intros and unnecessarily long pitches.

Your goal is to show why your story is relevant to the journalist/publication and how it will add value to their content.

So after a quick introduction, get straight to the point and show them the value you offer.

For example, Ana Casic from TalentLMS used this email pitch to reach out to journalists and publications covering remote work.

As you can see, it’s an outreach template that she customizes for every recipient.

But it’s a good one.

She starts with a one-line background on why she’s reaching out and then gets straight to the point.

Here’s an even better example of a concise and compelling pitch.

Like this first example, this one also doesn’t waste time with long intros.

In journalism, this is called the inverted pyramid approach.

Let me explain it more in the next point.

Pitching Tip #6: Use The Inverted Pyramid Approach 

The inverted pyramid approach is a journalistic content creation strategy in which you put the most critical points of your story in the opening paragraph and use the remaining article to elaborate on it.

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When you apply this to pitching, it means you start your email pitch with the most important info (even if it’s just a 5-6 line email)

So, like the examples I shared in the last point, start with a quick intro and mention a key finding of your study/research or an eye-opening fact from your story in the first few lines.

This strategy never fails to make an impact.

Pitching Tip #7: Follow-Up Without Being Pushy

Research shows that follow-up emails help you land 65.8% more responses than your first email.

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When should you follow up?

Firstly, use a free Gmail extension like Mirmax that tracks email activity and notifies you when a recipient opens your email.

Then wait for at least a couple of days if you don’t get a response.

But instead of using a generic “Just following up” kind of email, use follow-ups to provide more information about your story.

In short, follow-up at least thrice before giving up on a contact. In many cases, you’ll get a response with 1-2 follow-ups.

Are You Ready To Write A Pitch That Stands Out? 

If you want journalists to feature your brand and link to your stories, you must think from their perspective and offer them value with your content.

A good pitch can’t cover a lousy story.

But if your story is valuable, and your pitch highlights how it makes a journalist’s story more credible, you’ll get a positive response more often than not.