How to Pitch to Journalists in Digital PR

Pitching content to journalists is a huge, and often overlooked, part of Digital PR. You can have a brilliant campaign or story – but your ability to sell it can be detrimental to its success.

Gone are the days when you’d pick up the phone to sell a story in, a lot of reporters don’t want to be contacted by phone, and they state this clearly. Unfortunately, they simply don’t have the time.

They’re under extreme pressure like never before – to react to breaking news and keep up with planned story deadlines – but they also work long hours, have heavy workloads, and are often doing the job of more than one person, thanks to the growing number of redundancies in the industry across multiple newsbrands like ReachPLC.

There’s lots of discussion online about just how many emails journalists get a day, and while it will of course differ for everyone, it’s thought to be in the hundreds – with many of them being pitches.

Competition is fiercer than ever – and that’s why you need to nail your pitch. Journalists don’t have time to read every single one, and if you don’t catch their attention with your headline and in the first couple of lines, your email might be sent straight to trash.

And if you use AI to craft your pitch, journalists will probably realise, with many of them having called this out online.

If you want to find out more about how a Digital PR strategy could work for your brand, call the Embryo office on 0161 327 2635, or email [email protected].

Contact Us

How do I pitch a Digital PR story or campaign to a journalist?

Email is the best and most preferred way to pitch. You might choose to use a dedicated outreach tool like Buzzstream, which allows you to add contacts to a media list, so you can send your content out with much more ease and management than if you were to use a regular email platform.

The results of a recent poll revealed 92% of journalists prefer to be pitched on a one-to-one basis, via email, echoing what most of us Digital PRs already know.

Generally, your pitch email will be set up like this:

  • Story or campaign headline (in the email subject)
  • Hi (reporters name)
  • Personalisation and the pitch itself
  • Additional information and-or links to images etc.
  • Press release, which may include images or assets
  • Sign-off

What do I need to include in my pitch to journalists?

The key to a strong pitch and overall digital PR campaign is to explain what the key news hook of the story is, why it’s relevant now and to the reporter, and what your content includes – in the first couple of lines.

You can then go into more detail in the next couple of lines, and generally, a pitch email shouldn’t be longer than a few short paragraphs.

The best way to nail down the explanation of the key news hook is to think about how you’d explain or summarise the story to a friend, if they were hearing about it for the first time.

You also need to make clear if you’re offering a reporter or publication the content exclusively, which means they’re going to be the only one to cover the story either at all, or that you won’t send it to any other media until they have it live (meaning they get first dibs).

Every reporter wants to feel like they’re the only one to receive an email, and you should never send a pitch email without a reporter’s name on it. It can be tempting to bulk send to save time, but it’s not worth it.

When it comes to personalising an email to a reporter, a lot of Digital PRs see this as an effective way to build a relationship with someone. But if we’re being honest, this is down to the preference of the person you’re targeting.

Some journalists will love this and want to make small talk, and others will simply only be interested in your stories, no matter how polite you are or how many attempts you make to have a personal conversation.

Personalisation could be anything from seeing that they went somewhere on their social media and striking up conversation about it, to referencing they’ve covered similar stories to your topic so you think that they personally, would be interested in your story.

When it comes to outreach, do what feels natural and right – don’t force anything, you don’t have much space for your pitch so you need to use your words wisely.

Here’s an example of how to pitch to journalists

This was a simple and concise pitch used for one of our clients recently:

“Hi Sam,

I hope you’re well. I’m getting in touch to share AI’s predictions of how 12 of the biggest and best-known football teams’ Euro 2024 shirts could look this year – and the images are pretty cool.

Mystery Football used Midjourney to mock up the shirts – prompting it to take into account the country’s flag colours, and a retro design, but modern style. Some of them resemble older kits, and founder Matt Cole said the England shirt stands out to him, reminding him of the “traditional, retro Umbro days”.

The teams used are Germany, Scotland, Spain, Austria, France, The Netherlands, Portugal, Croatia, England, Belgium, Italy and Turkey. With millions of football fans around the world eagerly waiting to see the new kit releases, with many ‘leaks’ reported so far – this is a little teaser into how they could look.

You can find the hi-res images in this DropBox folder, and I’ve linked the on-site content for you.”

It’s concise, clear, and summarises the content – it tells the journalist everything they need to know in a few short paragraphs. This campaign achieved dozens of pieces of coverage – demonstrating the success of not just the content, but also the pitch.

The pitch includes why it’s relevant, and also details that there’s commentary from the client.

A final word on how to pitch to journalists when it comes to Digital PR

We’re all prone to overthinking our pitches, but if you remember to be clear, concise and natural, you can’t go far wrong.

Think about making your first few lines as impactful as possible, to entice the journalist to continue reading. And don’t make your pitch so long that they have to scroll down and down to see the press release itself.

Make sure your pitch includes everything the journalist would need, think about questions they’d have to ask you like, where can I find the accompanying images? Is the expert in the release available for an interview?

If you want to find out more about how a Digital PR strategy could work for your brand, or any other services like SEO or PPC, call the Embryo office on 0161 327 2635, or email [email protected].

Contact Us


Latest News & Blogs