9 Things You Need to Double-Check Before Sending a Pitch Email

Feb 19, 2024

Pitching is the bread and butter of PR, but not every pitch is a winner! Journalists get dozens (if not hundreds) of pitch emails every single day…and a lot of them aren’t great. 

Luckily, you don’t need to totally overhaul your writing process to deliver stand-out pitches. All you need to do is implement a targeted final review to ensure every part of your pitch is up to snuff. It might add some extra time to your pitching routine, but a little extra effort can make a HUGE difference!

9 Things You Need to Have on Your Pitch Email Review Checklist

Double-checking these 9 elements could make or break your pitch email. Don’t hit send without doing this final review!

#1: Is Your Subject Line Engaging?

Your subject line is the first thing your media contact will see…so you better make it good! 

The best subject lines are short, sweet, and grab the journalist’s attention. That doesn’t mean clickbait, though — many editors toss clickbait-y emails right in the trash.

Confusing, lengthy, or hard-to-read emails won’t inspire clicks. If the subject line is difficult to decipher, your media contact will think your pitch email is more of the same. Also, make sure your subject line is connected to your full pitch email. You can include the best or most relevant statistic in your subject line, and don’t beat around the bush with your main story!

#2: Is Your Media Contact’s Name Correct?

Seriously — tons of journalists receive pitches daily with their names misspelled or completely inaccurate! Always double-check your media contact’s full name and title before sending your email. If you follow them on social media, you should be up-to-date on any name or title changes, like with a recent marriage or promotion.

Using the correct name is the first step in building a lasting relationship with your media contact. When you use your contact’s proper name, you show that you wrote this pitch email with them in mind. They’re more than just a journalist who can give you a press placement — they’re a fellow comms pro, one you hope to work with long-term.

#3: Are You Pitching the Right Journalist and Publication?

Always double-check that your media contact is still working with the publication you think they are! The media landscape moves fast and journalists jump between publications a lot (especially if they’re freelancers). Keep up with your contacts on social media to stay up-to-date on their latest pieces and job changes.

If anything has changed, grab their updated email address, beat, and publication info — you may have to edit your pitch email a bit to work with their new outlet and beat.

Struggling to keep up with your contacts? Try using a media contact database like Prowly, MuckRack, or Cision, or you can use our peer-curated Media Contacts Database inside The Pitch Lab!

Related: 16 Must-Have PR Agency Tools that I Can't Live Without

#4: Is Your Pitch Email Personalized?

Be sure to personalize your pitches before you send them. Open your pitch email with a personalized greeting to show you’re up-to-date on their work. You can compliment a recent piece of theirs, congratulate them on a job update, or send good wishes for a personal event, like a marriage, birth, or upcoming trip. Staying updated with their social media makes this so easy!

Ensure your pitch is totally dialed into your media contact’s beat and publication. If they’ve covered a similar topic recently, don’t just send your pitch as is. Find a fresh angle to differentiate it from your contact’s recent work.

And don’t send a pitch that’s unrelated to your media contact’s work! A beauty editor doesn’t need a pitch about your client’s new virtual cooking class.

#5: Are You Telling a Relevant, Timely, and Newsworthy Story?

Why are you pitching this story? Why is this important right now? If the story’s relevance isn’t clear in your pitch email, rework it ASAP! 

Journalists only want to write and publish stories that will provide value to their readers and their niche. They want newsworthy stories that are truly valuable to their audience. Get the story's Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How into your pitch right away. 

Consider why your client’s product or service is relevant to today’s readers. What impact it could have on your niche? Can you jump on a current trend, season, or holiday? Paint a complete picture for your media contact so they know why they (and their audience) should care.

#6: Are Your Statistics, Claims, and Data Accurate?

Always, always, always fact-check your pitch. Sending a pitch email littered with factual errors diminishes your credibility in your niche — and will seriously damage your relationship with your media contact. You need to be a trusted source. Journalists won’t reach out to you for pitches or expert quotes if you have a history of giving them inaccurate information!

Be honest about your client’s product. Don’t oversell it or overpromise results if surveys or studies haven't proven those outcomes. Statistics and data add authority to your pitch email, so always verify them for accuracy. Double-check with your client’s team that the data you’ve pulled is valid and up-to-date.

If you use AI to spark pitch angle ideas (like with our Powerhouse Prompts resource!), make sure none of the AI’s original response makes it into your pitch. AI programs like ChatGPT and Bard search the internet to craft their responses, meaning they often present misinformation as accurate.

Related: How to Use Data Driven PR Pitches to Get Better Results for Your Clients

#7: Do All of Your Links Work?

It’s easy to accidentally add a dead link to your pitch email. Your client might’ve updated a page’s URL without you knowing, a WeTransfer link could’ve expired, or someone may have changed a Google Drive link’s sharing permissions. Journalists don’t have time to update bad links, and they’ll send your pitch straight to the trash bin if your links are duds.

Check that all links work and lead to the correct pages before you send your pitch. Update any dead links and double-check sharing permissions and link expiration dates. If you’re sharing additional documents, images, videos, graphs, or charts in a Google Drive or Dropbox link, confirm that everything is where it’s supposed to be. Remember, no attachments!

#8: Is Your Call to Action (CTA) Motivating?

Your pitch emails should always end with a clear call to action (CTA) for your media contact. Think about what you want your media contact’s next steps to be. This could be scheduling an interview with your client, chatting with you further, or requesting additional info to flesh out the story.

Effective CTAs are motivating, empowering, and direct. Phrase the CTA as a question to prompt a direct response from your media contact. Writing, “Is this something you’re interested in covering? Let me know the best time to set up an interview with my client” is more direct than, “If you’re interested in this story, please reach out to schedule an interview.

#9: Do You Have Correct Spelling and Grammar?

Proofread, proofread, proofread. Just like with inaccurate info, improper grammar and spelling can damage your credibility.

A spelling error that slips through the cracks could seriously impact the final pitch — think an incorrectly spelled expert name, a misspelled product title, or an incorrect source name. Also, remember to fill in any placeholders you may have added during the pitch-writing process!

Read through your pitch email one last time before sending it. If you can, get a second set of eyes on it by sending the pitch to a team member for a final check. It can also help to look at your pitch in a different format — try switching to your phone if you’re working on your desktop, or print your pitch out to read a hard copy. In a pinch? Run the pitch through a program like Grammarly to catch typos and get wording suggestions.

If you want to land key features and generate big results, your pitches NEED to stand out from the crowd. All it takes is a few targeted, powerful tweaks to take your pitch game to the next level!