Want to have your PR pitches read? The key is to make it shorter and more succinct.
According to a study by PR management software Propel, there was a 6% increase in the number of pitches being sent in the 50 to 149-word range in the third quarter of 2022, compared to the second quarter, and these pitches received an 8.3% response rate - which is the highest of the pitch length groupings. At the same time, 23% fewer pitches of between 500 to 1,000 words were sent in Q3 compared to Q2.
Meanwhile, it was found that subject lines of 16 words or longer were getting the highest open rates, but their response rates were less than half of pitches whose subject lines were between six and nine words, with rates of 1.66% and 3.82% respectively.
Overall, even though the average open rate was 40.28%, the response rate in Q3 was only 3.35%. This response rate, however, was still an increase from 3.25% in Q2, which Propel said is 0.10% higher than the average journalist response rate in Q2, optimistically. The average journalist response rate is now measuring back up to what Propel witnessed in Q1 2022 (3.37%).
More than half of (58%) journalist responses occur within the first four hours of the pitch being sent. In addition, it was also found that 56% of pitches which were opened by journalists were read within the first hour of receipt. Instead, the probability of pitches that are open after two days is close to 87%.
Yet, there is an approximate 12.5% of chance that pitches aren't opened the first few days. It's possible that journalists missed the pitch altogether if they haven't opened it after three or more days, according to the study. This year’s average journalist response rate to PR pitches has only fluctuated by 0.12% from one quarter to the next in 2022.
Propel analysed over 400,000 pitches PR professionals sent through its platform's email plugin over the past quarter. Its analysis also found that PR professionals sent the most pitches on Tuesday and Thursday (26.64% and 27.78% of pitches respectively). Journalists also opened the most pitches on Tuesday and Thursday (24.58% and 22.9% respectively). And finally, journalists responded to the most pitches on Wednesday (24% of pitch responses).
Co-founder, CEO, and chairman of Propel, Zach Cutler, said the positive trend that was seen in the overall response rates points to shifting tactics among PR professionals. Previous barometers have shown that the shorter and more to the point pitches and subject lines are, the higher the likelihood of a journalist response. “While we still aren’t at the 3.5% response rates of 2021, this uptick shows that with the right strategy, people in PR can increase their chances of getting published while providing journalists with quality sources for their stories,” Cutler shared.
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