How to Get Reporters to Read Your Email Pitch

Your email pitch hangs on eight words…or less.

The secret to gauging the interest of reporters and influencers who may want to interview you is complicated. The recipient must know from your subject line exactly what you have and why it’s relevant right now.  Your goal: immediate clarity. In eight words or less.


A terrific pitch piques the interest of the reader because it’s about their audience. When pitching your story, forget cutesy. It's confusing and irritating to busy reporters. All they want you to do is make your point.

I’ve been on both sides of pitches, as a news reporter and anchor in a chaotic radio newsroom and as a publicity strategist working to get my clients media coverage.

Here are tips from the pros about what gets their attention when sifting through their inbox.

  1. “The subject line must be clear so I know what you are pitching and why I should be interested in it NOW.” – Marty Daks, Business Journal reporter
  1. “I’m looking for creativity, originality, and something customized to why I, specifically, should care.” – Katie Rae Meyers, executive producer, KPRC’s Houston Life 
  1. “Use the subject line to open the door, and the first 2 or 3 sentences to kick the door open and get invited in. The subject line is your ticket in.” – Gordon Deal, Nationally syndicated radio host and small business podcaster
  1. “Brevity. It’s a subject line. I may be more inclined to ‘read on’ with just a few words that sums it all up.” – Racquel Williams, news anchor
  1. “Use wording that is both attention-grabbing and explanatory, that uses lively language, [and includes] just five or seven words that guarantees what follows is worth reading.” – Eric Sullivan, features editor, Esquire

The magic is in the writing. But before you begin crafting your subject line, it must be clear in your head, or you won’t be able to explain it to anyone. Reach out to me if you need coaching or practice. You’ll get better with time.


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