Every morning, I check my email to see the messages I've received from people pitching their company to me. The hope is that I will use their business in one of the publications I write for. Getting in major outlets can be crucial for gaining customers and investment, but what people don't realize is that there are certain ways to increase your chances of getting your story picked. Below, I'll share with you some tips based on the emails I've received from entrepreneurs trying to get a story. Use this advice and I promise you, you'll have a much better shot at getting your company exposure.

1. Spam

No journalist likes receiving an email with the introduction "Dear Writer." As soon as I see this, it's time to reach for the delete button. If there were one piece of advice I could give you, it would be that if you're going to send a pitch, the least you can do is personalize it. Writers receive hundreds of people pitching them a week. One of the easiest ways to sort through the bad emails is to delete the ones that are not personalized.

2. Referencing a past article

A great way to get a writer's attention is to mention what you learned from a past article they wrote. If you want to go above and beyond, relate what your company does to a topic the author wrote about. It's nice to hear that people actually read what I've written and have done some background research. Doing this will also save you a ton of time because you'll know which writers to reach out to.

3. Super-long emails

Once I check if the email is personalized, the second thing I immediately look for is length. If the email is more than a few sentences long, I never start reading it. You don't need super-long stories for a pitch. Typically, if an author likes your company, they'll ask for the extra information that they need. Keep it concise. Talk about why your company would be a good topic for the writer, and then write a few sentences on your business. Thank them for the consideration and end your email. The greater the length, the more time it will take to go through the pitch. And when it comes to emails from people trying to get publicity, no writer wants to take up more than a minute or two.

4. Tons of attachments

Like point 3, keep your email simple. It takes too much time to go through and see all your attachments. In fact, many writers don't feel comfortable downloading attachments from people they don't know. There's no reason you need to attach your executive summary or marketing kit to an initial email to a writer. All the information can be given if requested. If you put in a bunch of attachments to your message, it's going to be a turn-off when a writer opens it.

5. Journalists want a story

Most authors want to find out about what's going on with companies. We need great businesses to write about. It's a mistake to think that every writer hates receiving pitches from business owners. People who publish articles want great information that's new and exciting. Because of this, think about the angle that will separate your company from the pack. Funding is becoming more and more common these days. Instead, talk about what makes your company different. Do you have a huge competitive advantage? Is one of your advisers a celebrity or tech mogul? The more you can separate yourself from the hundreds of other pitches, the higher your chances are at getting the article.

Published on: Oct 16, 2014