Creating an exceptional piece of content is always just the first step. You need to get that content in front of the right people if you want it to have a real impact. Even the most prominent brands with thousands or millions of followers must actively promote their content if they want it to be seen by anyone other than their most dedicated fans.
Email outreach can be one of the most efficient ways to do it. You should do it carefully to maximize the chances that your email will be received and read. Missing out isn’t fun for anyone, right?
Writing a successful email pitch doesn’t seem like something tremendously difficult. In fact, it isn’t rocket science. But some good practices can help you to make your email pitch more successful.
With dozens of email campaigns under my belt for content promotion, link building, and blogger relations, I have gathered three tips on what makes a successful campaign. Let’s look at them and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about email pitching.
Step #1. Use Professional Subject Lines
I have read plenty of articles on how to write a good subject line and increase the open rate. And while most of them had some great tips, they are pretty repeatable and not always applicable.
Let’s start with a fundamental question: what’s the main purpose of the email subject line?
Your subject line aims to get the recipient to open your email. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how creative or funny it is if it doesn’t make the person want to know what’s inside the email. And although open rates are not as important as most people claim, there won’t be the next step if your email doesn’t get opened. How do you make someone want to open your email?
- Keep it as short as possible. According to most sources, the subject line’s length should be about 40 characters. If your subject line is engaging and interesting enough, it can be even +80 characters and still catch the attention. Keep it as short as possible, but don’t limit yourself so strictly.
- Catch attention. There are a lot of ways to make your subject line stand out. You can use emojis, symbols, brackets, or numbers to make it more eye-catching. The good idea is to ask a question or use a piece of text your recipient probably knows (famous quote, movie title, etc.).
- Don’t overdo it. Although you want your subject line to stand out, don’t overdo it. It should still look like a normal subject line someone would receive in their inbox. Using emojis, brackets, and other visual elements simultaneously will make your subject line look spammy.
- Mention a connection. Your email’s goal is to promote a new blog post? A new digital PR study? Mention it smartly in a subject line. Journalists and bloggers simply hate wasting their time with irrelevant pitches. By pointing to your email’s topic in the subject line, you increase the chances that relevant people will open your email.
- Experiment with letter size. It’s not true that capitalizing all the letters in your subject line will increase the open rate. Sometimes using only lowercase letters can be more fruitful. Why? Because a lowercase subject line is rare, and it can make your email look more personal.
Subject line FAQs
Q: Should I personalize email subject lines?
A: Personalization is one of the most frequently repeated issues in the case of subject lines. According to my experience, it’s not as powerful as people claim and doesn’t boost your open rates. Why? People got used to receiving personalized subject lines by including their names, which doesn’t impress anyone yet.
Q: Should I follow all the steps above always and simultaneously?
A: No! There is no magical formula for writing a successful subject line. You should experiment with different approaches to see what works best in your case. For example, if your initial three or four words are enough to catch attention, even if your subject line is more than 90 characters, it can still have an exceptional open rate.
Step #2. Draft Reasonable & Repeatable Pitch Template
Life is too short to write a new email pitch from scratch every time you want to promote your content. Creating a few templates will help you save a lot of time, especially if you are planning an outreach campaign for the first time.
A pitch email is not an essay; it should be short and straightforward. Remember that no one (with some rare exceptions) will spend more than a blink of an eye reading your email. How much exactly? According to the 2021 State of Email Engagement report, the average time spent reading an email is only 10 seconds. That’s the thing you should always keep in mind.
So, what should you include in your email template to make the most of this tiny attention span?
- Pay attention to the preheader. The preheader is the text that appears right after the subject line in the inbox. It should be compatible with the subject line. What does it mean? If you used personalization in your subject line (i.e., recipient’s name), there is no need to repeat it and waste valuable preheader space. Instead, you can use it to elaborate on what the email is about, how it can be useful for the recipient, or simply arouse interest. The three interesting basic preheader tactics:
- appealing to authority
- survey-type question
- unexpected, extravagant question
- Express your credibility when introducing yourself. You should prove that you’re not just another random person emailing your recipient out of the blue but someone having credible or data-based information that can be interesting for him. It’s a great place to introduce yourself by your real name and point out your affiliation with the company or website you represent in the email.
Example: My name is [Your Name], and I am the [Blogger | Specialist at Company XYZ].
- Show what you’re reaching out with. The next step is to present what you’re reaching out with. Remember that it should be valuable and interesting for the person you’re emailing. You can use one or two sentences to describe your content, include a sample of your content, and explain how you think it would fit their website or blog.
Example 1: Together with my team of researchers, we conducted a survey-based study to examine whether […]. We asked [X people] about [topic] to discover [result].
Example 2: Recently, I wrote a [blog post] about [topic] from a unique angle.
- Call to action. People are mostly lazy, especially when it comes to taking action. So, don’t make them guess what you want from them exactly. Be clear and explicit by asking them to do something specific. In the case of email pitches, asking questions is the right way to call to action. It’s simply more polite and not pushy.
Example: Would you be interested in publishing my guest post on your blog?
- Include backlinks. Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for any website, so bloggers and website owners are always happy to get them. If you have a relevant article or website that you want to promote, don’t forget to include a link.
- Make your article visually attractive and easy to skim-read. Remember what the average time spent reading an email is? 10 seconds. If you want to increase the chances that your email will be read until the end, make sure it’s visually attractive and easy to skim-read. You can do this by using short paragraphs, bullet points, and bolding important pieces of your email.
Email Pitch Template FAQs
Q: How long exactly should the email pitch be?
A: The shorter, the better. The ideal length of an email pitch is between 50 and 150 words. But don’t treat it as a strict rule.
Q: Should I include funny memes or gifs in my email pitch to catch someone’s attention?
A: Yes, it’s a great idea! Images and gifs can help you make your email pitch more visually attractive and engaging. Remember, however, that people have various senses of humor. Avoid using controversial or offensive memes and gifs to avoid making a bad impression (except when you’re pitching to a person you know likes that kind of humor).
Step #3. Create a follow-up template too
Follow-up is a very powerful weapon. According to a study by Woodpecker, a follow-up email can increase your response rate by more than 60%. That’s why the game is worth the candle! So, what are the good practices when it comes to following up on your email pitches?
- Be as short and as concise as possible. Remember that the initial email pitch should be short? Your follow-up must be even shorter! Get to the point quickly and avoid beating around the bush.
- Use “Re:” or “Fwd:” in the subject line. According to Yesware, recipients are more likely to open an email with an “Fwd:” and “Re:”. It can significantly increase your open rate.
- Reply in a thread. When you get a reply from the person you’ve emailed, make sure to reply in the same thread. This way, your recipient will easily read the initial email pitch.
- Be and show understanding. Little empathy goes a long way. If you haven’t received a reply, try to show understanding. You can say something like: “I completely understand how busy you are, so I’ll just leave my guest post here if you have time to take a look at it.”
- Add extra value. It’s not obligatory but warmly welcomed. You can offer to write a guest post for your recipient’s blog, prepare some interesting infographics, or share pictures. There are many options for adding extra value.
Q: When should I send a follow-up email?
A: From my experience, you should do it after at least three working days.
Q: How many follow-ups should I send?
A: I rarely send more than one follow-up email. Sometimes I do it twice but never more than that.
Email pitching can be a great way to promote your content and get exposure for your business. But only if you do it the right way! I hope this post will help you write effective email pitches that will get responses.