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For publicists, sending email pitches can often feel like screaming into the void.
You send countless emails pitching your clients to publications, but sometimes no one bites. Although there is no way to guarantee that journalists will respond to queries, if you use all the tools at your disposal, you can position your client as an invaluable resource.
In a way, you can look at pitching your client as “selling” them to a publication. Journalists need to know what you’re selling, and the client bio is how you tell them.
A client bio is not just a paragraph that you tack onto the end of every email pitch out of obligation — it plays a crucial role in establishing your client’s credibility. Journalists receive hundreds of pitches daily, but they have limited coverage opportunities, so you have to show that your client deserves their valuable time. That means proving that your client is a bonafide expert.
Nothing can do that better than a great bio.
What to include in your client’s bio
The bio is a place to brag about your client’s accomplishments. For example, if your client is distinguished within their field and has received several industry awards, mention them. This type of recognition counts with the people who will read the article, so their accolades are important to highlight.
When journalists are given two candidates with equal knowledge on the topic, they will go with the more prestigious one. Use your client’s bio as an opportunity to affirm their prestige.
Furthermore, if your client has made significant contributions to their field, such as earning impressive metrics or serving in board or advisory roles, mention them. Thought leadership is about being one of the foremost experts in your field, and few feats assure that more than possessing significant leadership experience.
Including links to your client’s most significant or impactful pieces of media coverage in their bio can make them more appealing to a particular reporter or outlet.
This “media resume” can be another make-or-break factor. If your client has been published or featured in journals, research papers or trade publications tied to recognizable and credible publications that grant further credence to their expertise, it shows journalists that your client is worth their time. High-level publications have earned a certain level of respect and esteem, and by being featured in them, your client gets that legitimacy by association.
How to make outlets see your client’s bio
The best bios are the ones explicitly targeted at the outlet you are pitching. For example, if you are pitching your client to an industry-driven publication, their academic credentials will be more meaningful than if you are pitching to a blog about motherhood.
Knowing your audience is critical in any form of writing, especially while writing pitch emails. It all comes back to offering them something relevant for their outlet.
The best place for you to put your client’s bio is right after your email signature. Because a strong bio is usually a bulkier block of text, including it in the main body of your pitch could cause a journalist to ignore your email outright. By putting it after your signature, you ensure that it is in a place where it is visible to anyone who wants to read it, without making your email look overly intimidating to those who don’t.
Using a line to separate the body of your email from the bio makes the pitch even more neat and organized.
You also have to find the perfect length for client bios. If you fill the bio with unnecessary information, it will get too long and become ineffective. People don’t need to know intimate details of your client’s life unless it is relevant to the specific pitch you are sending.
On the other hand, if you don’t maximize the space you have, you aren’t doing enough to prove your client’s legitimacy.
You must find the right balance between making your client’s bio concise and powerful at the same time.
Client bios are a powerful tool that you should not ignore in your pitch emails. Although it may seem like a minor part of an email included out of obligation or expectation, if appropriately used, it can be the factor that secures your client a valuable placement.
Remember, pitching an outlet is essentially a form of sales, and the client bio is your opportunity to establish your client’s value.
Melanie Parncutt is a publicist at Otter PR in St. Petersburg, Fla. In Baltimore, Parncutt studied writing, technology, communication and design with a focus on leadership studies. She has extensive experience in public relations, marketing and advertising including media planning, content writing, and marketing, ghostwriting, corporate partnerships and broadcast productions.
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