Why thousands of PR emails get ignored by journalists
If you want a journalist to respond to your PR emails then you must read this advice piece from a former News Manager and senior television news producer who has thrown out thousands of Media Releases during her career. Adoni Media’s Senior Account Manager Jane Henschke opens up about the decades of frustration working in newsrooms and receiving email pitches that left her hitting “DELETE”.
What really happens after PR agencies hit send
Competition to stand out and grab the media’s attention is fierce. A Chief of Staff – the person or team of people who are your first gateway to a newsroom – receive hundreds upon hundreds of emails a day. Likewise, journalists and producers get bombarded with PR emails. It is not uncommon for emails, especially if they are from someone they don’t know, to go unopened or sent to the trash.
How do you stand out?
PR is in many ways measured by how much media coverage you generate so having journalists open and act on your PR emails is crucial. To help you, Jane and other senior members of our public relations team at Adoni Media have put together a checklist for you.
Five common mistakes:
- Too wordy, or as Jane says “wishy-washy” emails that don’t get to the point
- Addressed to the wrong person. Yes, it happens! And Jane and our team will tell you it happens A LOT.
- Not relevant. Media Releases that are not relevant. For example, sending a Victorian Media Release to a Queensland producer when the story has no relevance to a Queensland audience.
- Too personal. Jane says receiving an email with “I hope you’re having a nice day” almost certainly made her want to hit delete.
“If I saw ‘hope you’re having a nice day’ and I didn’t know this person, it was almost guaranteed I wouldn’t read on.”
- Not Available! Jane’s other pet hate, and the former journalists on the Adoni team agree, is PR emails that catch your attention but when you call to ask for an interview no one is available.
“If you are going to ask the media to cover your story, have someone who can help tell it!”
Tips to help
Provide as much information and resources as possible to make the journalist’s job easier. Jane recommends:
- A strong angle – Why would the audience care?
- Stand out subject line – Get to the point and sum up your story in one line
- Supporting information – Who, What, Where, When and How are able to tell your story. For example, who is your spokesperson and when are they available.
- Follow up – Don’t be annoying but make the time to call the journalist or producer. They may have seen your email and been busy and your phone call may be enough to put it back on the top of their list.