Writing customized emails to journalists presenting story ideas increases engagement.
And that’s what we want, right? A dialogue with the journalist or influencer so it may lead to a story about our book, business or cause.
More than 90 percent of journalists prefer to be presented story ideas through email first, according to Cision’s 2017 State of the Media Report.
There are six main components that should be followed:
1. Write a subject line that piques their interest and makes them want to open it up and learn more.
There’s no steadfast formulas, but here are a few to use as you begin presenting story ideas to journalists and influencers. And like anything, practice makes perfect.
- Focus on how your book, business or cause can improve the lives of the reporter’s readers, listeners or viewers. For example, “Do your readers know about XYZ…” OR, you could write, “How many of your readers can benefit from XYZ…”
- Another subject line is simply sticking to the facts and keeping it straightforward. This is good when you’re releasing a study or research findings. For example, “74 percent of your readers (listeners, viewers) may be suffering from XYZ disease.”
- Another subject line is the “give them praise” subject line. Simply compliment them on a recent article they wrote only if it aligns with your cause or your area of expertise. A subject line here could be, “Loved your article on XYZ…”
2.The opening line of the email needs to be relevant to the journalists beat or what’s currently trending.
Your opening line needs to be relevant. For example, “I read your story on unemployment and want to present a different perspective. In my book…”
Or maybe you saw one of their tweets on twitter. You could open with, “I saw your tweet regarding unemployment and I wrote a book on the future of America’s workforce…” You can take this approach only if the tweet you are referencing is related to your cause, book, or your area of expertise.
3. The story idea you present in your email must be of interest to the journalist’s readers, listeners or viewers.
Keeping with the unemployment topic example, let’s say your email is to a reporter at your local business journal. You know their readers are business owners and professionals. You could write, “Since the unemployment rate continues to fall, your readers may be interested in knowing what they can do to attract top talent.”
4. If you don’t “ask” for the interview or meeting then you won’t get the story.
Continuing with the business journal example, the next sentence you write after “why this is of interest,” is the “ask.”
For example. “I’m available to talk about what has worked for our clients and what other local businesses can do. Here’s a link to additional information.” And then that link goes to your online media room where they can find bios and other press kit materials.
5. End your email with a question to increase the chances for further engagement (an actual response).
Ending your expertly crafted email with a question adds an element of helpfulness and obligation. The reporter may feel compelled to reply with a response.
For example, “What else do you need to write a story on this topic?”
6. Don’t forget to include your contact information. There’s a reason I’m including this one.
The final component is your contact information – name, email, phone (include both office and mobile numbers), and social media.
Some additional tips
- Follow the format. Try to keep each component to only one or two sentences.
- Use links to additional information such as your multimedia pieces (videos and images), a recent press release or your online media room.
- Never add attachments unless they know you and are expecting an attachment from you.
Where some struggle
Some people who present story ideas to media feel like this is the only opportunity they’ll have to get a story placed so they cram a ton of copy that is so overwhelming that it never gets read.
Fight the urge and trust the process.
Are you an author looking to get publicity for your book?
In a couple of weeks I’m opening up my 30 Days to a Bigger Stage program that helps authors get publicity for their book.
I’m hosting a Zoom video conference at 2 p.m. EST, Nov. 9 to take you through the above tools and additional resources in greater detail, answer your questions, and help get you on the right path to publicizing your book and its message.
No matter where you are on your journey – thinking about writing a book, launching a book next month, or released a book last year – this call will help you gain clarity and confidence in approaching and working with media.
Once registered, you’ll receive details on how to join my Zoom call. Click the below and begin your journey to more publicity, greater awareness and more book sales.