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Four Ways to Personalize Your Emails to Reporters

According to MuckRack’s 2020 State of Journalism study, “lack of personalization is…the #1 reason why journalists reject otherwise relevant pitches.”

If that doesn’t convince you that you should be personalizing each and every pitch you send, nothing will.

Assuming you are convinced that personalization matters, read on for four ways you can start personalizing your email pitches today.

1. Start with your subject line

Your subject line is the first chance you have to grab a reporter’s attention. If the subject of your email doesn’t make your contact want to find out more, they’ll disregard it – and your pitch will go nowhere.

An effective way to grab attention right from the get-go is to personalize your subject line. For example, try referencing a recent article your contact wrote, mentioning their outlet by name, or, if it reads naturally, even using their name.

2. Address your contacts by name

This one is easy: address each media contact you pitch by name. That’s it. So simple, yet too many people still send out emails with a “Hey there!” or other generic salutation. Beginning your email in such a way makes it seem impersonal, and like it’s been blasted out to a long list of contacts.

3. Extend a compliment

Before pitching a reporter, familiarize yourself with their work. Not only does this help ensure that you’re pitching the right contact (i.e. someone who would have an actual interest in your story), but it can give you the opportunity to extend a genuine compliment.

If you see something produced by your contact that you particularly enjoy, tell them so. Everyone enjoys appreciation for their work.

4. Connect your pitch to specific coverage themes

Look closely at your contact’s recent coverage to identify the themes they explore regularly.

For example, let’s say your contact is an arts reporter. What, specifically, about the arts do they cover? Are they focused on museums and galleries, artists, international arts, art industry goings-on?

Think about how (and if) your target contact might be likely to cover your story, and pitch them accordingly. Reference their past, relevant work, if appropriate.


It takes notably more time to generate personalized emails for each media contact you plan to pitch, but the time and effort is well worth it. By customizing your outreach, you’ll soon see a greater response rate – and, likely, more earned media coverage resulting from your pitching efforts.


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