There are plenty of perks of being part of The Press Hook for brands, media professionals, and publicists. Our goal is to be your go-to source for every question you have about our industry, and our blog is a destination to provide important information and advice. Recently, we invited publicists from The Press Hook to join a Slack channel discussion about the type of questions that keep them up at night. From press release writing to agency size, we talked to many leading writers to get their insight.
Here, the second installment of the journalist roundtable, featuring the advice of:
In a pitch, is a dropbox link of photos favorable to photos embedded within email? Or, if it depends, what might it depend on?
Brittany Anas: Dropbox links or any links that don't expire. WeTransfer can be tricky because it has a seven-day expiration.
Wendy Rose Gould: If it's one or two photos, I don't mind email attachments, but otherwise, I prefer a selection of hi-res images in a file transfer or dropbox folder. You just get more options, and the quality is higher.
Trae Bodge: I prefer a Dropbox or Google Drive link with high-res images and then a low-res screenshot embedded in an email to give me a sense of the product being pitched. Hi-res images that are embedded throw off the email format (at least for me), making it hard to read.
Aly Walansky: Absolutely, I prefer Dropbox links whenever possible. Attachments or embeds are often broken or make the email take way too long to load. This is especially true if I'm reading that email from my phone or from an unstable connection (which happens...a lot.). But a Dropbox link makes it accessible but not cumbersome.
Lindsay Tigar: If it’s a cold pitch, don’t send me any images yet. If I need them, I’ll ask for them in my preferred format. (Which is usually Dropbox or Google Drive.)
Daley Quinn: Because I'm a freelance writer, I never actually use any of the images that are sent to me in emails. I feel like editors are more likely to use those images since they are the ones who are inputting the story into their publication's site and adding the images. That being said, I prefer seeing images in the body of a pitch, since I like to see what the product looks like.
When sending pitches, what is the minimum and maximum amount of brands/products you prefer in pitches?
BA: The more, the better!
WRG: When sending product pitches for a roundup, I think sending no more than three products is ideal. When you start doing more than that, I find that it's less about quality and more about quantity. Really focus on perfect fits, and you'll have more success.
TB: Pitches with more than four or five products or brands are too long, in my opinion. If a publicist has more than five to share, I would suggest sorting the products or brands into themes and sending separate emails.
AW: Generally, one brand per pitch is a lot easier to keep organized, especially if it's gift guide time!
LT: It really depends on the story. If it’s a gift guide, I’d love to see a handful of ideas — but not like, 45. It’s just too much to scroll/read through. If I’m asking for a particular story angle, say ‘luxe bath products under $100’ — don’t pitch me something that’s not related to a bath and/or more than one-hundred buckaroos.
DQ: I prefer one brand/product per pitch. I rarely sift through pitches with a laundry list of brands or products. I guess if you have multiple brands and products that will work for one story/theme (like St. Patrick's Day or something), you can include all the products in one email.
Do you like receiving pitches at random, or is there a specific week or day of the month that is best based on your pitching/planning?
BA: I pitch throughout the week, so it's all good to send anytime. I consider Monday morning rush hour in my email inbox and Friday afternoons I'm winding down, so those aren't the best times. I also don't love weekend pitches because I tend to forget about them since I’m not at my computer those days, and I'll open them on my phone and then go back into weekend mode.
WRG: I read all my emails, so pitch away. I don't check emails on the weekends, but they'll get read Monday or Tuesday.
TB: I'm fine receiving random pitches, but I would avoid pitching on weekends or at night because I might overlook them.
AW: Oh, anytime is fine. I file them all, and they all will be there if a need comes up.
LT: For me, there is no ‘best’ time, but I typically check email once in the morning and once before I log off for the day. So if it’s sent in the middle of the day, I likely won’t respond. And I don’t check emails on the weekends, so if you send something Saturday, I won’t read it until Monday morning at the earliest. And for month timing, I usually start pitching half-way through the month for the following month.
DQ: I would prefer to get some more pitches on Mondays and Fridays because I find that I get the majority of pitches on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, and it gets really overwhelming in my inbox and I tend to delete a lot more pitches during those days. Please don't ever pitch me on the weekends — I never read them.
Do you want catchy subject lines or straight to the point?
BA: Straight to the point.
WRG: I honestly don't mind what the subject line is. The reality is that you're going to have more success if you're pitching within my niche and you're professional and friendly!
TB: A combination of the two? But, if I had to choose, I'd choose straight to the point.
AW: I honestly care less about a cute subject line than knowing what I'm getting into. An email title like ‘quick question!’ tells me nothing about what's inside. However, an email title like ‘Your Toaster Guide: [Name of Toaster]’ may not be snazzy, but I know what it's for!
LT: I appreciate a funny pun, but it has to be relevant, and it can’t be insensitive or fear-inducing. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received about fertility pitching (doctors, products, and so on) that say ‘Are you worried about getting pregnant?’ and call out the fact I’m in my 30s in the body of the pitch. I won’t ever respond to that. Most of the time, just get to the point.
DQ: I love funny subject lines — those usually catch my attention!
Any tips heading into gift guides for spring/summer?
BA: I like it when pitches have a new/why now angle.
WRG: Continue to be mindful about where everyone's mental state regarding the pandemic and lean into new trends to leverage your brands.
TB: This is as good a time as any to switch up your pitching process if it's not working - especially if you're just sending automated pitches. Don't allow yourself to get stuck in a rut (unless you're crushing it, in which case, keep doing what you're doing)!
AW: It's never too early to get started. And early bird often gets the worm: the sooner you reach out, the sooner you will be considered if anything that fits pops up.
LT: Please, please don’t follow-up two days after you send a pitch. And please note that gift guides take weeks to put together, so I won’t update inclusion until the guide is live. Also, be mindful of what you’re pitching as a gift. A lipstick isn’t a gift. A random face serum isn’t either. Nor is a box of tampons. If you wouldn’t want to receive it as a gift, it isn’t one.