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This article was published on February 25, 2010

How To Write A Killer Email Pitch To A Tech Blogger

How To Write A Killer Email Pitch To A Tech Blogger
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

pitching-hacksWe get quite a few pitches from startups here at The Next Web. While some are quite good, there are a good number that are plain awful.

People often ask us as to just how we like to be pitched via email. This is how.

For this excercise let’s assume that you are a smaller company doing something that you think is innovative in technology, and are looking for coverage around some sort of new release, major milestone, or partnership.

The Pre-Pitch Warmup

The first step actually occurs before you pitch me, you need to say hello.

  • Send me a short email introducing yourself, introducing your product, and close the email stating that you are not expecting a reply. This shows me that you are just looking to make first contact. I will file you away in my head so that when you actually are looking for coverage, I know who you are.

  • If possible, give me a beta code to your service and invite me to play around with it if you are still behind closed doors. All humans love exclusivity, and we bloggers are no different.

Your Pitch

You have completed step one, let’s get to the meat of your email.

  • In the subject line of your email alert me of your name, and your company. If I get an email with the subject “Jim from” and I know who Jim is (from your first email), it is almost a guaranteed chance that I will open your email. That’s it, you are already in my head and have my full attention.
  • Call me by my first name. Calling me Sir or Ma’am makes the pitch overly formal, and I might suspect that I am part of a mass emailing which I personally hate. Never, ever call me “TheNextWeb author,” I’ll just delete the email.
  • Tell me why I should be covering you. This is not the point where you introduce your piece of news and product, instead tell me something like this “I read you coverage of startup XXX, and I think that we are doing something in a similar space that you might want to take a look at.” Now I know that you actually know who the hell I am (flattery always works), and that this is something that I might actually have interest in covering. All tech bloggers have certain genres that they love to write about. If you tell me that your product is in one of my favorite niches then I am more likely to cover you already. Save me the time of guessing just what you do.

Now you have my attention, I feel comfortable because I know your name, and you have flattered me, it is time to fling your pitch.

  • Give me a short company overview, explaining what industry you are attacking, what your secret sauce is, and who your competitors are. Then drop your news tidbit that you feel needs coverage. You are not the only person in my inbox, so 300 words is about my limit. More than that I and begin to fear the email, possibly starring it for later reading (the inbox deadpool). There are too many other emails in my inbox to give you all my time, so keep it terse.

Set Yourself Apart

What makes some pitches better than others?

  • If you have a video demonstration of your product, put that up front. We all love videos. We can put them in posts to help explain your company, and they help us get a quick handle on what you are trying to accomplish. They are good for everyone.
  • Give me the tl;dr at the end. A quick executive summary of the main points. When I am covering you, I will probably copy paste this into my post for reference while I write.
  • Say thanks for my time (or something snappy if you can think of it), and drop an email and phone number that I can use to reach you.
  • Not at all required, but a short joke never hurts at the end, we all love to chuckle some.

Ways To Make Your Email Pop

  • Email me yourself. I pay four times the attention to a startup employee emailing me than a hired PR person. PR people are annoying, and do not have a founders flame for the product.
  • You have two goals in your email pitch: show me passion, and get me excited. If you are excited about something, and I get interested in it, why would I not cover it?
  • Never fear sending a second email with a note that you want to make sure that we caught your first note. Often I mean to go back and reread an email and just don’t remember to. Nothing personal. If after two emails I say nothing, then you are probably not doing something that I find too interesting. That’s just fine, there are many fish in the sea of tech blogging, and you are only looking to reel in a handful of the top.

And of course, pitch me at [email protected]

Image credit.

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