Top three reasons why journalists are rejecting your pitch

By Shing Mon Chung | 06 Sep 2019

Journalists can receive 100+ email pitches a day, so it’s easy to see why only one in five will actually open every pitch sent to them. Fractl recently surveyed over 500 online writers and editors from top tier publications and found that the top three reasons email pitches are rejected is because they are irrelevant, boring or too self-promotional. 88% of journalists said that they’ve rejected a pitch because it’s unrelated to what they cover, 64% of journalists found pitches too boring to be newsworthy, and 62% state that self-promotional pitches will be dismissed.

The study stated that most journalists prefer pitches that are between 100-200 words, so keeping your pitch email to the point and compelling is vital to its success. 

Some top tips to achieve a short and sweet pitch are:

  • only include the most relevant, interesting, and newsworthy information
  • use bullet points to list details or statistics
  • link to the full content from your email body (don’t attach additional files to the email)

A tactic that’s often used by marketers is “the exclusive”. An exclusive is when you give the journalist or writer the first opportunity to publish your story. Being the first to break the story to the public can make it automatically more newsworthy. Fractl’s study found that 46% of journalists are more likely to open a pitch when the word “exclusive” is used, and a third prefer to only cover exclusive content. It’s important to make sure that you choose who to offer exclusives to wisely because you want the content to have the most impact and even help secure future coverage, so exclusives should be only considered for top, high-authority websites. 

In the world of content marketing and digital PR, there are many dos and don'ts to take into consideration that are outside of the actual crafting of the email and pitch process. Some of these are “rules” that are taken as gospel, whereas in fact they are debunked by many PR consultants. One such myth is that campaigns can’t be launched on a Friday. Of course, if you’re deploying a complex content piece then a Friday might not be the best day, in case there are any issues with the website over the weekend when your workforce is offline. However, PR pitches can go out on a Friday. In fact, you might end up being at the very top of the journalist’s inbox when they meet on Monday morning for their editorial planning meeting!