The ability to send professional emails to the media is a fundamental skill for every PR worker. The bottom line is that an editor has to read your communication for you to even have the chance of interesting them in the proposition contained within it. An email is the first hurdle for getting an editor to consider your pitch. If it is of poor quality, you will fall at this initial stage and the hard work you and your client have done which your email pertains to is unlikely to see the light of day.
With this in mind, here are 7 tips to help you compose a professional email to the media:
- Write clearly and directly in the subject line: The recipient of your communication needs to know what they will be reading about before they open it. Make your introduction short and relevant to the body text of your email and its attachment. If you are sending a press release, you should state the following as a preface in the subject line: ‘Press Release: XXXX…’
- Make sure you spell check: Always take a minute to read your email one more time before hitting the ‘send’ button. An unprofessional missive with a lot of spelling mistakes will have your media colleague thinking that your organisation is a sloppy one. If you give this impression, they will hardly be interested in what you have to say.
- Short and simple: Editors and journalists are busy people. Having to read long and prolix text can be a time-consuming annoyance for them. Keep your email short, simple and to the point. You don’t want your email deleted because your recipient was put off by its several paragraphs of verbose text.
- Address your recipient formally:Always include the recipient’s name in the beginning of the email. Great them with the salutation: ‘Dear XXXX…’ There is some debate about whether ‘Hi’ is acceptable, but if it is to be used, it should only be when you have an established personal relationship with the recipient. Certainly avoid slang terms such as ‘Hey there,’ ‘Yo’ and ‘What’s up.’ When closing, you can’t go wrong with ‘Best regards’ or ‘Kind regards.’
- Contact details: Emails to the media should not be sent from smart phone devices that are not configured with your company signature. Your organisational email should contain your full contact details, including your full name, designation, title, telephone number with area code and your company website.
- Distribution list: If you are sending a group email to the media then always use the ‘BCC’ blind copy function. Editors will already realise that they are not being selected as special when they receive an e-mail from a PR company, but it’s quite something else to see a hundred other names listed in the ‘CC’ copy field.
- Replying to all: Lastly, when your e-mail is a response to the media, pause before you hit the ‘reply all’ button. This way you can avoid clogging up other people’s in-boxes unnecessarily.
Happy email composing!