3 tactics for using ‘cold email’ to land media coverage

Spraying out a generic pitch to dozens of journalists will garner you little attention—except maybe exile to the ‘blocked sender’ dungeon. Try these approaches instead.

Earned media coverage is the lifeblood of modern businesses, but pursuing it often requires using “cold email.”

We know that 92% of consumers say they trust earned media coverage over purely promotional content, but what’s less clear is how to lock it down so your company thrives.

Most influencers and journalists still prefer email pitches and outreach over messages through other channels, but when a pitch arrives in an inbox from left field, it often gets ignored.

Here are three great ways to use cold email as part of your PR campaigns.

1. Connect with journalists.

Journalists and other influencers are inundated with requests.

So, rather than use cold email to pitch your product or service right off the bat, do what Kendall Baker suggests in an article for The Hustle:

Establish a relationship.

For example:

– Give them a compliment on their most recent piece of work.

– Congratulate them on a recent achievement.

– Share a helpful resource you think they’d like.

Here’s what this might look like:

Hi, [journalist].

Just wanted to drop you a quick note to share how much I appreciated your recent article on [website]. I loved your perspective on [topic] – it really changed the way I think about [something specific].

Keep up the great work!

[signature]

Keep it short, sweet and non-promotional. Then, continue warming up the relationship with social media engagement, blog comments and more emails. Later, when you have a pitch worth sharing, you’ll no longer be a cold contact.

2. Connect others to journalists.

As a variation on the strategy above, Criminally Prolific’s Dmitry Dragilev suggests using cold email to connect journalists with others.

“While building your business, you likely have come across excellent sources, both personally and professionally,” he writes. “Putting reporters in contact with a source you know is a great way to network and establish respect.”

It’s another great way to increase your contact with journalists and influencers using cold email, without blatantly promoting yourself. Here’s how this strategy might look in practice:

Hi, [journalist].

Loved your recent article on [topic]. If you’re planning any related coverage, I thought you might want to connect with [your contact]. [He/she] is an expert at [their subject matter] and would be a great contact for interviews on [topics].

If you’re interested, you can get in touch at: [contact information].

Hope this is helpful!

[signature]

3. Make a targeted request.

For example, are you trying to:

  • Get a journalist to attend an event?
  • Have your product or service written up for a particular site?
  • Get an influencer to promote your product to their audience?

Whatever your goal is, be clear about both what you’re asking for and why you’ve reached out to a specific journalist. Irrelevant pitches or those that don’t spotlight a clear call to action will get deleted. Don’t make your PR contacts do your homework for you.

Here’s what a better pitch looks like:

Hi, [journalist].

I see from your article in [publication] that you cover up-and-coming SaaS startups in the FinTech space. We’re about to launch a new tool called [name], which [offers something new, different and exciting].If you’re interested, I’d be happy to set up a free trial account for you, as well as arrange an interview with our CEO, [name]. I think your readers at [publication] might enjoy learning about [its benefits].

Thanks for your time,

[signature]

Cold email can feel impersonal, but when crafted correctly, it can help with everything from forging new relationships with influencers to landing you vital press coverage.

How have you used cold email in a PR campaign? Please share in the comments below.

Levi Olmstead is head of community and SEO at G2.

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