You’ve just seen the vacancy of your dreams published online.
Or maybe one of your favourite platforms online has published a great opportunity for your career.
Without any hesitation, you start writing an email to this person. You know you’re the perfect candidate for this opportunity and you don’t want anyone to get it instead.
You click send… and nothing happens. You wait days and weeks for a response, but your inbox is still empty.
It’s normal. I’ve also been in that situation before. I think the worst part is to not know if that person is ever going to reply your email.
Writing the perfect pitch email isn’t easy. Especially when we’re so excited about a specific opportunity.
The perfect pitch email can:
- make you get that job/assignment/opportunity of your dreams;
- make you be featured in the media (magazines, newspapers, etc.);
- help you reach authorities within a niche;
- help you collaborate with important blogs/platforms/brands.
Everyone likes pitches. They’re beneficial for both the person who sends it and the person who receives it.
Then, why don’t they always work?
In an article, Caitling Kelly from the NY Times revealed that she directly deletes 95% of the email pitches that she receives.
“The only two emails I opened recently that were useful to me came from people who actually noticed (!!) what I cover.” – Caitlin Kelly, NY Times
As much as we like pitches, these people receive an average of +100 email pitches a day. No one has enough time to read so many emails.
What can you do to make people open our emails?
1. Read as much as you can about your reader
As Caitlin said, she only reads people who notice what she covers. In order to know what your reader is interested in, you need to know as much as you can to get to know him/her.
You need to know his/her interests, what websites s/he reads, what s/he writes about, and what s/he is looking for.
By reading your reader’s articles, you’ll notice the voice that s/he is using, writing techniques (how headlines are written, how the introduction is written, how s/he structures the content, etc.), and you’ll have a clearer idea of how to approach this person.
Try to find out if you’ve got someone in common within your connections (LinkedIn can be very useful for this). If you’re closer enough to this someone, you can also ask this person to introduce you, or at least you can ask this person if you can include his/her name in your email to customise it.
As I always say, information is power.
2. Pay attention to the subject line of your email
That’s always the first step. If people don’t open our emails, we’re done. Our emails will end up in the bin.
And you know that you’re competing with, at least, 100 people. Your reader doesn’t have enough time to read all of you, so you need to stand out.
- Why would your reader spend time reading your email?
- How are you going to convey that even before s/he opens the email?
The subject line is key if you want your reader to open your email.
It’s the first filter that your reader is going to use to discard irrelevant emails. And you don’t want your email to come across as irrelevant, right?
Write at least 5 different headlines and make sure to pick the most appealing one. Put in your reader’s position and think:
What’s the one thing my reader can’t wait to read?
How to write the perfect pitch email
Sadly, there’s no magic formula to write the perfect pitch email that will guarantee that your email will be opened. Otherwise, everyone would be using it and I won’t be writing this post.
However, you can use a few techniques to write the perfect pitch email and make your reader read your content:
1. Keep it simple
Have you ever opened a never-ending email, got scared and closed it straightway?
People are busy and nobody is going to spend more than a couple of minutes reading an email (especially a pitch email).
Save your readers time and don’t scare them with endless paragraphs.
Don’t be scared to be direct and straight to the point. That’s probably what your reader is looking for.
2. Customise, customise and customise
Knowing the name of the person that you’re contacting is essential. Don’t even think about using “Dear Sir/Madam”.
In fact, that’s always my second filter. If I can see after the first line that the person who is emailing me doesn’t know my name, I completely ignore the email.
This is what Jason from Mashable said in an interview:
The PR people who have taken a bit of time to get to know me, my beat, what I’m interested in and the types of sources I’m looking for always have my ear. Their emails are usually succinct because they know what information they need to convey to me. – Jason Abbruzzese, Mashable.
And that’s the key, if you write the information that your reader wants to read, there’s no doubt that they will open, read and reply to your email. And you will have to do this by customising your email and knowing your reader.
“David, but that’s hard work. I can’t do this with every email I send.”
I know, it’s hard work. And here I always give the same piece of advice: focus on quality, and not quantity.
It’s better to write three good pitch emails and get one answer, than write 30 pitch emails and get none.
3. Briefly explain who you are
One of the most common communication problems when we write pitch emails is to talk too much about you.
Your reader isn’t really interested in your qualifications, your diplomas, all the years of experience… At least, not at this stage.
Be brief, explain who you are, what you do, and what you can offer. One paragraph (two as a maximum) should be enough.
If your reader is interested in your email, he’ll be the one who will ask for more information about your background.
4. Use bullet points to make your content more readable
Especially if your content is too dense and hard to read, you can use bullet points to indicate the most important points.
This will help your reader not to get lost or bored, and will make him/her keep reading your content.
We’re very busy and we don’t really read the whole text. We like to scan to extract the most important thing that we’re reading.
Visual elements will help your reader to scan your texts.
You can also use bold and underline text to highlight the most important bits.
5. Search common ground
Mention something that your reader is aware of and both of you share. Maybe you can mention a person among your connection that you both know (as I said before).
This is not always possible, I know. But you can also mention an event that you both have attended, and article written by that person that you’ve read, the fact that you follow each other on Twitter… It could be anything! Just be creative and find that common ground.
6. Use your voice
Don’t try to sound smart or professional. Just be you (and this doesn’t mean that you should write your email the same way to speak to your friends in a club.)
Be professional but don’t lose your voice. Otherwise, your reader will notice that you’re pretending to sound something that you’re not and you’ll lose credibility.
7. Make every sentence relevant
The third and final filter is within your content. If your content is boring or irrelevant to your reader, you’ll lose him/her. S/he will end up clicking the bin button.
Keep your reader interested and use simple and plain language. Forget about fancy adjectives and focus on verbs and actions.
Do you normally write pitch emails? Would like to add other tips to write the perfect pitch email? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!