Creating the perfect pitch email to get press coverage, get a piece published, or simply get a reply isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Think about it, you’re surrounded by email spammers. PR companies spam journalists thousands of times per day, and marketers add anyone with a pulse to mailing lists—email is brutal. These mass-blast methods can be helpful in strategic situations (short timeline, important announcements) but the perfect pitch email requires thoughtfulness and research into the recipient. The best process I’ve developed for this is the FART Method.
The FART Method.
Like a real fart, this method is your best shot to stop everyone in their tracks, interrupting their routine. Unlike a fart, however, the perfect pitch email via the FART Method fills the recipient’s inbox with an intoxicating aroma. An aroma capable of connecting to a journalist, editor, or any recipient in a meaningful way. This means you decrease the chance your email will be ignored.
F – Fresh
F is for fresh.
Is your message truly fresh or unique? If the journalist, editor, etc. have heard it before or thinks they have heard it before, game over. Even if your pitch has a unique angle, you can also get in trouble with “baggage terms.” Saying “we’re the Uber of…” can send the receiver the wrong message—you can be lumped into the wrong category if someone hates Uber, for example.
Journalists, and any recipient for that matter, will never accept a pitch that’s not fresh. You may think you’re casting a wider net by sending your story to everyone possible, but you’re just burning bridges. It’s hard to get outside of your own head and avoid the founder baby problem, so it might be good to bounce your ideas off objective folks who will give it to your straight.
A – Accessible
A is for accessible.
Does the recipient have access to accurate information to verify any claims you’re making? Is your message easy to understand? Are you providing a high-quality photo or necessary visual assets to help them understand? Are you easy to reach out to? Is there a strong online “paper trail” so they can verify who you are and trust you immediately?
Every step of the process must be easy for the recipient, editor, journalist, or whom you’re trying to influence. Just like you, they don’t want new tasks on their plate, so do what you can to minimize the perceived labor of dealing with you. The higher the perceived work, the lower their probability of replying. It’s also vital to return emails quickly—if you write the most perfect pitch email the world has ever seen, but don’t follow through, you lose. (You’d be stunned how often it happens.)
R – Relevant
R is for relevant.
Pitching a home repair angle to a science writer at The Wall Street Journal is a guaranteed waste of your time and theirs (unless it’s a very clever angle). As a published writer myself, irrelevant pitches from PR people happen hundreds of times per day. The majority are off-topic and completely irrelevant. (And I always respond kindly.)
Because I keep a clean inbox and I’m efficient, I blacklist people who continue to pitch me irrelevant (or repeat) pitches. (I’ve been pitched guests for my show that have already been on!) Research the journalist/editor, know what they write about, and even use their own vocabulary when pitching them. If you don’t have time for them, they won’t find time for you.
T – Timely
T is for timely.
A story, request, or pitch can be fresh and relevant, contain exclusive photos or assets, and completely fail if sent at the wrong time. What could be a perfect pitch email about a state-of-the-art charcoal grill can fail if sent at the end of summer. Better Homes and Gardens isn’t likely to read that one—it will be buried or forgotten.
Similarly, your brilliant startup or new product is likely to get sidelined or forgotten if sent at the wrong time. If Google, Facebook, or Apple make a big announcement, as they often do in October (dubbed “techtober“) it can be rough. Know what’s going on in the world and pitch when it’s relevant and quiet. I’ve had some major success pitching journalists right before the Holidays when guests for live shows are scarce.
One last thing here, avoid the trap of pitching themed months and days. The magnitude of cancer-awareness or black history pitches would blow your mind—be more strategic.
A perfect pitch email uses high focus
After you understand how to get a journalist to cover your story, which angles to take, how to follow up, and have perfected the FART method you’re in good shape. If you want to really master the perfect pitch email, I’d strongly recommend using high focus language. Joe Thomas explains “high focus communication is all about the receiver.” You can grade your own email with Soar’s AI high focus tool.