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How to Write a Media Pitch Letter
While many people only use press releases to get free publicity, learning how to write an effective pitch letter can dramatically increase the amount of publicity you get.
A media pitch letter is a brief proposal addressed to editors containing an idea or article that you would like them to use in order to help you get free publicity. It is important to write a good pitch letter in order to properly get your point across.
It is important to do some simple research before sending out your letter. Research the editor's name and the publication's name and be sure to include these in your introduction. This will keep your letter personalized, will show the sincerity in your intentions, and will keep the editor from assuming that this is a letter you sent to other publications as well.
It is also essential that you open your pitch letter with a statement that is attention-grabbing and will make your reader instantly interested in what you have to say. If your reader is instantly hooked on what you have to say, he or she will go on reading.
For example, if I were to write a pitch letter about my adventure selling the Brooklyn Bridge in 1983 (yes, I really did sell the Brooklyn Bridge), I'd start my letter by saying:
"In 1983 I caused an international media sensation by becoming the first person in history to REALLY sell the Brooklyn Bridge -- one square inch at a time. Now, 25 years later, I'm doing it again, even bigger and better than before."
Afterwards, get to the point. Explain to the editor what it is that you want to do-whether suggesting a new product or recommend a person to feature. Make sure that your story or idea is perfect for the publication's target market, then tell the editor why this is so.
Now that you've got the editor's attention, explain your concept in the most clear and concise way possible. It is important not to put out all your ideas in one media pitch letter for two reasons: first, your letter will not drone on and bore the reader, and second, you will pique your reader's interest and keep them wondering and wanting more. Make sure that since this is the bulk of your letter, you've gotten your main points across-all while keeping your letter within one page. Ideally, the letter should have 200-400 words.
Make it clear to the editor that you are the best person to do the job. You can take this opportunity to cite a few of your past works or significant experiences that may be to your advantage in handling this subject matter. Don't be too cocky, but confidently explain that you have quality information this person can use and pass on to his or her audience.
Lastly, make sure that you leave your correct contact information. Sounds simple, but you'd be amazed at how many people screw this up.
Include a phone number (cell phones are fine too. Just indicate that the number is your cell number) and an email address that you check frequently. State that you may be reached at those numbers or email addresses anytime should the editor be interested in your idea. You can also include additional press materials with your letter in order to avoid having the editor do some extra research on your topic.
Once you send out your media pitch letters, be sure to check your email and voice mail services often. The media people are happy to leave a message or send an email, but they won't wait long for you to get back to them. If you don't get back to them within hours, you risk losing your opportunity for an interview.
If you follow these steps and learn how to write a pitch letter, you're on your way to getting free publicity that can drive new customers to your business at little to no cost to you.
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