How I phrased my email to journalists that resulted in articles and interviews

This is the third and last part of a series of articles I'm writing about sending my press release to journalists. You can read the first one here and the second one here.

If you read those 2 articles, you already know

  • How to create a list of journalists
  • How to phrase your email subject
  • Why personalize your emails
  • When to send your email
  • Why not add any attachments to your email

The most important question is always: how to send your PR?

I decided to put the PR under my email as plain text. If you send it as an attachment, it’s just 2 more clicks (download & open) for the journalists and like I said earlier, you need make their job as easy as possible. Some also fear the attachment might include viruses.

Let's get to the point.
This is how the structure of the email looked like:

Subject: A Hungarian startup teaches English with movies

Dear Peter, [1]

I am Balint Farago, founder of …. [2]

I read your article about xy [link!] and I think this topic might be interesting to your readers. [3]

Skeebdo is an English learning mobile app that helps people learn English words with movies and TV shows. [You can write 1-2 more sentences here] [4]

Please find our PR below and our screenshots in this Google Drive link: [link] [5]

I am happy to answer any questions.

Yours sincerely,
Balint Farago
Co-founder of Skeebdo
Phone number
Email address

The time of traditional dictionaries is over, you can learn English from movies thanks to a Hungarian startup [6]

[Summary sentence in bold] [7]

[your PR text]

Skeebdo is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Notes: [8]

  • Official launch: [date]
  • Target group: [ages, interests, other demographics]
  • The team currently consist of 7 people living in 3 different countries

Let me explain the parts marked by numbers in brackets.

[1] This is the form of address. Like I said earlier, it’s important to call the journalists by their first name. Never write Dear Journalist!

[2] I am introducing myself in one line.

[3] I am referring to an earlier article of the journalist or the company if I don’t know the author.

[4] I summarize my topic in 2-4 lines. These lines are very important! Be concise, write only what’s absolutely necessary and write something that catches the journalist’s attention which makes them keep reading.

[5] I am telling the journalist where they can find my PR and providing a link to the images. Make sure these images are high quality.

[6] This is the title of my press release and is different from the subject of the email.

[7] This is the introductory paragraph you see in the beginning of lots of articles in bold. They may use it, or may not.

[8] Here I put some interesting things about my product and startup that I did not want to phrase in the press release. Since we’ve just launched our app, the launch date might be important for the journalist. The last bullet point about having a diverse team working separately is quite relevant these days when most of us are working from home.

Now you know everything I did, so let’s get to the results:

Emails sent out: 52
Not read: 25
Read: 27
Clicked on a link: 13
Published: 8

Some journalists just copy-pasted my press release (including 2 errors in it), some added a few thoughts of their own to it.
Out of these 8 publications, 3 journalists asked for an interview.
What’s more interesting is that thanks to being published by a big media site, there was a 1 minute talk about Skeebdo on 2 radios, and a company reached out to us to form some kind of partnership. I am writing this, because the goal of PR is not only to get lots of downloads but to create brand awareness.

What’s next?

Remember when I told you to add any kind of email you find on a website to your excel table? It can be another journalist’s email address or a general one.
As you see, 25 journalists did not read my email. For half of those sites I have at least 1 other address I can send my press release to!

For those, who read my email, but did not publish my press release, or did not write back, I will write an article, something like “3 apps to learn English with”. One of those apps will obviously be Skeebdo, but the point is, the journalists might be more interested in this than in my own PR. One more thing: I will send different photos of those apps to different companies. For tech sites, I will send a screenshot of Star Trek or I will mention it. For sites targeting women, I will send a screenshot of Dead to Me, Working Moms or Eat Pray Love . Creativity bears fruit!

Thank you so much for reading my posts about this topic! Everything I wrote is based on research and my own experiences. I hope it helps!

What do you think about my strategy?

  1. 1

    8 publications is a great result.
    Congrats on your success.

  2. 1

    I missed the past two articles, but after reading this one I'm definitely going to check out the first 2 parts.

    This is exactly what I struggle with most, reaching out to media. Thanks for the tips!

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