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Developing a powerful email pitch for a PR campaign

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Combining the powers of email marketing with an attention-grabbing PR pitch is a winning approach when it comes to major campaigns. In an ideal world, we would write each journalist an individual message - but what happens if you’re launching a major global campaign with press release distribution to hundreds or even thousands of journalists in dozens of countries?

A targeted email pitch allows you to reach a wide audience of journalists in an instant, whilst making sure it’s relevant to their ‘beat’.

List segmentation done right

Segmentation is crucial in email marketing. Large companies are likely to have multiple PR campaigns going on at once; launching a product across your EMEA markets, hiring 100 new staff in North America, and carrying out a branding campaign with influencers across Asia. 

Each story will be of interest to some journalists, but not to all journalists. Even a journalist that covers Amazon’s business strategy regularly is unlikely to want to hear about Jeff Bezos’ divorce, and vice versa. 

Careful segmentation by geography, media audience, and channel means you’re getting the right message to the right journalist at the right time - and that’s the core of good PR.

A/B Testing

The best way to find out what works for your audience is to carry out some experiments. Go about your normal press release distribution for half your list, and send the other half a one minute video with the same information. You’ll quickly find out which had more impact, and you can use that information in your next campaign.

This strategy, known as A/B testing, can be used to test every aspect of your email strategy; like the types of subject lines journalists respond best to, what calls to actions you should use, the images that provoke the strongest response, and which layouts work best. You can even A/B test what colors people respond most to.

Sometimes marketers A/B just 10% of their list, and then send the version that performed best to the other 90% of people. Data like this is invaluable in getting better results for your next PR campaign.

Tailor your message

Even with mass pitches, it’s possible to personalize your message to a degree. As we mentioned above, the same news can impact in a different way for different communities. When a global company announces that it’s launching in a new country, this will be written about in different ways by newspapers like the Financial Times, online publications like Forbes, and local papers in that area. 

By segmenting your list correctly, you can send Tier 1 journalists a press release about what it means for the company’s global strategy while sending local media quotes about why they’re investing in that city and what kinds of jobs it’s likely to attract. This brings the idea of personalization to a new level when it comes to press release distribution.

Develop a clean lists policy

Naturally, when it comes to email pitching, your opportunity to gain coverage is only as good as your media list. It’s crucial to have an up-to-date database with the right contact details, and the correct beats tagged to the journalist. 

Start by choosing those you add to your list carefully, but you may still get some bounces if the person has left the organization you’re contacting or changed their email address. Make sure any email addresses that hard bounce or repeatedly soft bounce are removed before your next campaign. All emails are legally obliged to have an ‘unsubscribe’ option, and it’s important to remove those email addresses from your list too.

With services like PressPage, you get access to more than 900,000 media contacts and influencers and the ability to create lists and mail them within the platform.

Final thoughts

A strong email pitch can be an effective way to get more coverage, more views, and ultimately a bigger impact for your next campaign. 

Learning the art of writing a subject line that tempts a journalist to open your email and building relationships through digital channels will be crucial skills as more and more of this work is done remotely and online.


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