Being a communications professional is complicated these days. Thanks to social media, it seems like everyone’s a writer, publicist, or critic now. Reach is no longer measured in subscription readership, but in followers and likes. Success is no longer measured by critical acclaim, but by the amount of traffic your website gets. Hello Kylie Jenner selling out her lip kit in less than 30 seconds…
So you need more than a good idea. You need help.
Which means you need to ask for it. Whether you want a tweet, a front page story, a sponsorship deal, an accolade, or simply a digital nod or hat tip – you need someone ( editor, director, agent, manager, etc. to say “YES.” That person – who decides to publish your story, make your announcement, acknowledge your existence, recognize your achievements, or sponsor your client – has all the power. All you have is their email address. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, someone will warm them up with an email intro for you.
But either way, you’re left with one task: get that “YES” with one perfectly executed email.
So what will set your message apart and get you the YES you’re looking for?
In short, your words. So how do you do it?
As a pro copywriter who specializes in persuasive writing, I’m going to show you the 6 key steps you need to take in order to stand out, persuade, and get the YES you’re looking for.
Here they are, in no particular order.
This means that you must always, always, always approach the person that you’re contacting as an individual, not as an institution. For example, if you’re writing a pitch email to PR Daily, you’re not writing to the publication; you’re writing to the person who handles their submissions. They’re a human too – with their own intentions, interests, stresses, loves, peeves, etc. Chances are, they just want to do a great job too. So do your research about their organization and goals, and approach them with those in mind. Don’t just use a template email that you copy and paste every time you pitch something. Take an extra twenty minutes to make it personal. We’re all busy, but it only takes five minutes to review an email before sending to make sure you haven’t accidentally misspelled someone’s name or left out a detail about what (insert organization) wants to accomplish in 2016. Acknowledge those personal details.
We’re all busy, but it only takes five minutes to review an email before sending to make sure you haven’t accidentally misspelled someone’s name or left out a detail about what (insert organization) wants to accomplish in 2016
Make it more about THEM than you
Yes, you do have to present your pitch and tell them about your client and story, but more importantly – you have to give them a reason to care. Your job is not to simply tell them why your client is so awesome, it’s to connect that awesomeness back to them. How is what you’re pitching going to be beneficial to them? How is it going to help them achieve their goals? You don’t have to be heavy handed about how you present this information, but you must know those answers and at least allude to them in order to pitch in a way that persuades.
In other words, show you’re a human by expressing enthusiasm and even gratitude in your approach. Just because you’re limited to email doesn’t mean that you can’t show your personality the same way that you would at a cocktail party. For the record, I am not suggesting that you must be different, quirky, or weird to be noticed. I would not recommend being “different” for the sake of being different. This is not an attention grabbing tactic, but a warm reminder that you’re reaching out from one human to another. So after you write your email or proposal, read it aloud to yourself to make sure it sounds like you before you hit “send.”
Just because you’re limited to email doesn’t mean that you can’t show your personality the same way that you would at a cocktail party.
Make the ask clear and confident
If you want to be considered for an award, if you’d like a sponsorship attached to your client, or if you’re proposing your client as a featured guest on a show, say it. Whatever you want, say it. There is nothing more confusing, frustrating, or time-wasting for your reader than you not being clear in what you’re asking for. If you’re open to ideas, that’s also wonderful, but come with at least one solid ask and make it. Period.
Simple, and yet so often overlooked. If there are any types of submission guidelines, read them thoroughly and follow them.
Keep it brief
Attention spans are short nowadays, and people appreciate when their time is not wasted with unnecessary words. In other words, if you can acknowledge personal details, explain your proposal, introduce your client and concept, ask for what you want – and do it all in 100 words or less, you’re winning. Unlike in school, where writing more words is recognized and awarded, the opposite is true in our email dominant, social media saturated world. Always read your messages to see what can be eliminated and trust me, your email will be the best one they receive all day.
Jamie is a copywriter, creative director, and brand storyteller based in Queens, New York. Jamie brings almost 15 years of storytelling expertise and Hollywood badassery to help her clients tell stories that sell. When she’s not breaking brand stories at Your Hot Copy, you can find her writing screenplays (like her feature comedy film that was #1 on Hulu for 3 weeks upon release), getting applause breaks at the NY Comedy Club, or teaching hip hop dance fitness classes (all true). Be sure to keep up with Jamie on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!
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