Gini Dietrich

Five Tips to Get Your Media Pitches Opened and Read

By: Gini Dietrich | March 15, 2017 | 

Get Your Media Pitches Opened and ReadBecause of the PR Dream Team, I have an amazing new friend who is extraordinarily sophisticated when it comes to media relations.

To boot, she’s owned a PR firm for nearly 15 years.

She also has donated her time to help non-profit organizations increase awareness and build relationships with donors.

She’s no slouch, when it comes to communications, but she recently came to me, frustrated.

None of her media pitches were getting responses.

In fact, none of them were even being opened.

It’s a new experience for her and, after going through the media pitches on her end, we figured out why:

  1. The subject lines didn’t follow the Michael Smart philosophy that gets an 80 percent open rate;
  2. The media pitches were too long; and
  3. She was handcuffed by the client who wanted her to pitch journalists outside their norm.

There wasn’t anything we could do about number three because she had her marching orders.

But the first two we could work with.

How Media Pitches are Opened and Read

We worked hard on the subject line so it was directly effective for each journalist, and we followed Michael’s advice.

Then, we followed his advice for the five tips to dramatically increase the chances your email pitch is opened and read.

And then we shortened the media pitches so they were easy to scan and respond to, without taking more than a few seconds of their time.

This is what a revised pitch looked like:

It followed three of Michael’s five tips, along with his recommendation on how to close the email.

And guess what?

She got results. And quickly!

Ninety Percent Response Rate

There was one other thing we did.

As it turns out, the business email addresses journalists have are rarely checked, which explained why so many of her media pitches had gone unopened.

So she asked the PR Dream Team for some help, and they delivered.

She was able to create a list of email addresses that her top 10 targeted journalists actually check, and she got to work.

With a new email address in hand, she sent her revised media pitches and had a 90 percent response rate.

Ninety. Percent.

How does that sound to you?

The 24-hour Media Pitching Boost

Here’s the thing: You can go it alone (which is my preferred method, even if it costs me a ridiculous amount of time and money because, well, I’m stubborn).


You can go to an expert like Michael (who, by-the-way, tells me he rarely wears a suit, which I don’t believe).

He has three videos, which he calls his 24-hour Pitching Boost, but it’ll take you less than five minutes to watch them.

Absorb the information, watch them again, take notes, and then get to work.

I’m willing to bet you also can beat his 80 percent response rate claim, if you do the work he suggests.

I’d love to hear how it works out for you, and what kind of success you have.

(And please notice that, while he’s not wearing a tie in any of the videos, he is wearing a suit jacket.)

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Rafael dos Santos

    Love this article. I am launching a new business in London (UK) and planning to contact journalists.I just received your email (I signed up on Spin Sucks) and guess what what Gini?
    I am going to be in Chicago for the awards. I will be presenting the awards there. Would you have time for a coffee?
    My friend who is the editor of Global Woman magazine will also be there with me. It would be great to grab a latte!

    • That’s great, Rafael! I will respond to your email to see if the timing works.

  • Oh yay!!! I tell everyone to subscribe to Michael’s newsletter. Always happy to have the opportunity to hear more of his advice.

  • Miranda Nathan

    This is a great formula to follow for media pitches! Would you say that relationships with journalists establish more precedence than a well crafted pitch?

    • Relationships are ALWAYS better, but when you have to cold email someone, this is how you get them to pay attention.

  • Mahina

    Titles are one of the most important things in any media profession. Titles that are to long lose the interest of any readers, especially busy professionals. When it comes to media pitches having a short title is essential. If the title loses the interest of the reader why would they take time to read the rest of the pitch. This is definitely something I will keep in mind for future pitches.

  • Megan Codd

    This is great advice for media pitches and trying to get a job! The perfect title to a piece or email and relationships with journalist are so important in this industry.

    • I love doing it for getting a job, too. Really, anytime you need to cold email someone.

  • Diane Gomez

    Great info here Gini! I’ve seen this post pop up in my feed, and I’m finally getting around to reading it! The tips are are also great for internal communicators who are charged with getting articles published in the larger company publications. It may seem strange that you have to pitch your own media team, but it’s become a fact of life for large organizations and for those of us in higher education.