You’ve got a great product on your hands. You know it, your team knows it, your investors know it. Now you just need to get the word out. Getting a story published on a tech blog is a great way to drum up some publicity, but you have a problem: none of the journalists you pitch are responding.
How can you fix that and spread the word about your big idea? I have some tips that will help get you started.
1. Make it personal
This is a big one. If you’re sending out multiple emails to different journalists, the worst thing you can do is write a single email and send it to all of them. Take some time to personalize your cold email template a little to increase your chance of an open and a response.
We’ll touch on the subject line in a bit, but when it comes to the email copy, there are a few simple ways to add some personalization to your email and speak more directly to the recipient:
- Learn something about the recipient and mention it in the email. This could be a place they visited, conference they attended, or award they won. However, do not mention something for the sake of it. Journalists can smell an insincere attempt to relate to them, so only include a personalization if it’s genuine.
- Send the email at the right time. The best times to send emails tend to fall around 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 8 p.m. Check the time zone of the recipient (people often put their city in their Twitter bio) and schedule it to send using a tool like lemlist.
- Vary the wording in your messages based on the journalist’s demographic. Journalists are all individuals with different beats and varied personal interests. Get through to them by speaking their language. For instance, a tech journalist will want to know the ins and outs of the product or service you’re pitching so don’t skimp over the details.
2. Grab their attention with a catchy subject
If your subject line isn’t good, your email will never get opened. That’s about all there is to it. You want your subject to be short, informative, and clever, while also being enticing enough to get them to click. And most importantly, make sure that the contents of the email are true to the subject. If your subject line makes a claim—especially a bold claim—make sure the email copy backs it up.
Some tricks you can use to write a better subject line include:
- Create a sense of urgency. Make them think they’ll miss out on something big if they don’t open the email. Just make sure the contents live up to the hype!
- Personalize. Try using the recipient’s name in the subject line, or mention work they’ve done or something you heard them say on a podcast or video.
- Start with an action verb. This is more engaging than a simple description because it helps the reader imagine themselves in the situation or picture using the product you’re describing.
- Read your subject line out loud. Your subject line should sound like it was written by a human, not a bot. Write out your subject line and then say it out loud. Does it sound like something you’d say to a family member or friend? If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
3. Make it valuable
Tech journalists get a lot of emails, and a good chunk of them are of absolutely no value. Journalists want a story—a good story. A unique story. So, give them one! Frame your email like a story and frame your pitch as something they can write a story about. For example, if you’re looking for coverage for a new product, try sending a case study or testimonial along with it that they can use to build an article.
4. Don’t send unexpected attachments
Cyber attacks are seemingly everywhere these days, so it should come as no surprise that unexpected attachments from unknown senders are going to go right in the trash. This is especially true with tech journalists, who are dealing with issues of cybersecurity daily and are well versed in terms like VPN, malware, and phishing. What this means in practice is that you should get the OK from the journalist first before sending any pre-written attachments, PDF product data sheets, or spreadsheets.
5. Avoid sending cold emails
Cold emails can work, but they tend to work best when you’re sending a lot of them to different recipients. If you’re trying to reach a particular person, it’s probably not the best tactic. So, what do you do instead?
Before pitching tech journalists, take some time to figure out who they are, and find a way to relate to them. Hop on Twitter or LinkedIn (Twitter tends to be best for this since its more casual), find their profile, and engage with them for a week or two before sending your pitch. That way, when they see your name in their email inbox, they’ll recognize you as “that person from Twitter.” If they recognize the name, you’re more likely to get an open. You can even use a subject line such as “Hi from Twitter!”
Next time you go for emailing leads, look back over these tips. Even if you only implement one or two, you’ll greatly increase your chances of an open and a response. And sometimes, all it takes is one to open the floodgates.
P.S. Additional idea to consider? Writing a journalism portfolio