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Building an effective media list is an important step in gaining excellent press.

But that is only half the story.

The other half (the more crucial half) is about starting conversations and building relationships with your media contacts.

More about this in a minute.

First, the basics.

Media List Example and Templates

This is an example of a typical media list:

Here are two media list templates that you can download.

These do not have real data or contact details but they’ll give you an idea of what type of information you need to build a good media list.

Media list example template 1:

Download Template 1

Media list example template 2:

Download Template 2

What is a Media List Anyway?

The official definition:

A media list is a document with details of specific journalists, bloggers, writers, and influencers who write about your niche or area of expertise.

What I think:

A media list is usually lame PR speak to spam a TON of journalists with one single message in the hopes of getting a response from someone (anyone?).

You don’t want to do this. This is a waste of your time, money, and effort.

You don’t need to do this either.

In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to…

  • DIY an effective media list from scratch.
  • Start conversations and build relationships with each contact on your media list so that you get the press you deserve.
How to Build That Perfect Media List?

Here’s a 3 step process to building that perfect media list:

Step 1: Find Your Audience

To build an effective media list, you must first know where your audience hangs out – which blogs and publications they read, which podcasts they listen to, which YouTube channels they watch, and who they follow on social media.

Image credit: Rand Fishkin, Sparktoro

With this insight you’ll have a clearer picture of which journalists or influencers to target.

How do you do that?

Let’s say you have a booking platform for local food and drink tasting experiences, then your audience would be travellers, honeymooners, bachelor parties, etc.


Create a spreadsheet with a list of potential story titles and ideas that are relevant to your industry.

In this case, some of the potential titles that would interest your audience might be:

  • Top Foodie Destinations in Western Europe
  • Wine Experiences Worth Travelling For
  • Foodie Honeymoons

Now take a story angle from this list and search a related term on JustReachOut or any search engine to find relevant newspapers, magazines, and blogs that cover similar topics.

The publications listed in the results is where your audience usually congregates.

For example, if you take ‘Foodie Honeymoons’ and put it in Google, it will give you a list of articles that have been published on this topic on various blogs and online publications:

Using JustReachOut in this step makes it simple, as you can contact your target journalists directly from within the tool.

Step 2: Research Relevant Journalists

The next step is to click on the articles that appear on the first few pages of your search to find names of journalists and bloggers who regularly write about your industry, product, and/or service. Those who write on topics that are tied to your product or story (or another trending story in the news that you’re somehow connected to) will be the most relevant.


When going through the articles and publications, check the author’s name to see if it is a real person you can connect with.

Sometimes blogs do not give author names for articles written by staff members.

If you can’t find the name of the writer, it’s probably better to avoid that specific publication.

However, if the publication is relevant to your business or shows potential as a platform where you could contribute, don’t get discouraged if the article does not show the actual name of the author. Poke around the website for other posts to find another contributor you can engage with.

Quick tip:

At this stage, target mid-tier blogs and publications before going after the big guns like NYT, CNN or National Geographic.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to get coverage in top-tier publications, but you want to establish some credibility with smaller media outlets before going up the rung.

Step 3: Make Your List of Target Journalists

In your spreadsheet, create a new tab and call it something like ‘Media List’.

The Media List will have the following columns: the name of publication, website link, name of the journalist/blogger, designation, email, a link to the relevant article related to your topic, your topic title, and a conversation starter.

Something like this:

Note: The topic title is from the list of topics you created earlier. Each relevant article that you select for a journalist must be categorized under one topic title.

You can also add columns for Twitter handle and areas of interest for the journalist. You will use these pieces of information later to forge relationships with the journalists.

As you read each article from your Google search results in Step 2, go through this checklist:

  • Is the post written by a real person you can connect with?
  • Is the author still writing for this publication?
  • Is the readership of the blog or publication similar to your target demographic?
  • Can you find a unique, insightful point to make about this article that can be used as a conversation starter?

If the article checks all these boxes, add them to the Media List tab in your spreadsheet. Also fill out the other columns – publication name, website link, journalist name, , and topic title.
Leave the Conversation Starter column blank for now.

That’s it.

You have a near complete media list.

You must be wondering:

How do I Use the Media List to Get Press?

Even if you have a big list of names and contact details of all the relevant journalists and influencers who write about your topic, you still need to make your pitch feel personal.

Just because you are targeting them with your outreach efforts does not mean you’re on their radar.

Are they aware of you and your business?
Are they interested in your story?
Are they excited about sharing your story with their readers?

If that is not the case, a list of names and email addresses will do you no good.

What you need to do is connect on a more personal level with the journalists on your list. They should have heard from you at least once before you send them a press release or a story pitch.

How do you build a relationship with a journalist?

By starting a conversation. This is where the Conversation Starter column comes into play. All this is making sense now, isn’t it?

This is crucial:

Initiate conversations with relevant journalists on your list weeks before you plan the launch date of your product or service.

Carry on these conversations until you have built a solid relationship with that journalist.

Then when you need media coverage, you’ll be able to approach these journalists not as a random stranger, but rather as an acquaintance who wants to share a story with their audience.

No need to send a cold email pitch.

This is exactly what I did when I launched JustReachOut.

What’s more?

I have used the same technique to help over 5,000 businesses pitch media and get press.

It will take about 3-6 months to start conversations and build a solid relationship with a journalist.

But the payoff is much greater than last-minute attempts at outreach.

You can also use some cool press outreach tools from 25 Best PR Tools: The Complete List (2019 Update).

How Do I Start A Conversation?

Remember the Conversation Starter column in your media list.

This is where we learn how to fill it.

Here’s what you need to do:

Closely read each article from your research.

As you read the articles, try to find a mistake, something that is missing, or even a weak point in each post (this could be outdated or omitted information, poor design, typos, etc.) that could be used to strike a conversation.

Here are some things you should look for:

  • Facts that are outdated
  • Can you provide updated facts?
  • Missing information
  • Could you suggest a follow up story for a new article?
  • Are there too many glaring typos in the post?

Add these ‘conversation starters’ to your Media List tab in the spreadsheet.

Now for the aha moment:

You will use these conversation starters to send a warm email to your target journalist before you pitch them a story.

Journalists love to get story pitches over email. This process of ‘pitching’ information about your product or service to journalists is also known as press outreach.

Here’s the actual pitch email I sent to an editor at Lifehacker:

Here’s an email I sent to Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch:

Three Specific Conversation Starter Tactics Tactic 1: Use Quora

Using Quora as a tactic to start conversations with journalists is effective and easy.

Here’s what you do:

Go to Quora and find relevant questions in your niche.

Answer the question and refer to the link of the weak blog post along with additional information or insight that strengthens the post without making the writer come across as stupid.

Next, email the author of the post, mentioning your mention of her in the Quora answer.

This tactic shows the journalist that you care enough about their work to not only read it and improve upon it, but to also promote it on a platform you don’t even own—enabling you to form a long-standing relationship.

Tactic 2: Use Compliments

Send an email complimenting the journalist on a recent post. This is a great tactic as email is one form of interaction journalists are always ready to engage with.

The best part?

You don’t need to specifically find stories associated with your niche to compliment them.

Do it using an article that your target journalist wrote recently or even for an award that they or their publication won.

Here’s an example email format:

Hey John,

Just saw your article on [marketing automation]. Loved the point you made about how [less than 10% of companies are using autoresponders based on website behavior effectively].

Looking forward to your next article.


Tactic 3: Share Relevant Content

Share relevant articles, reports, videos, white papers, or any other content related to an article a journalist wrote recently to start a discussion.

Do not send any content related to your business, or anything that you have created.

Make sure you link to the article you’re mentioning. Providing immediate context to what you’re referring to is always a good idea.

Who Are Your Other Influencers?

Your target influencers need not be restricted to journalists or YouTube celebrities.

They could be founders, bloggers, investors, and even Hollywood actors.

In order to find all your influencers, you need to first define your goal.

Then define your target audience.

For example, when I started JRO, my goal was to sell over 1000 subscriptions to the software.

JRO’s target audience: Startups, small business that need effective press outreach on a budget.

So, when I started looking for influencers in my space, I built a relationship with Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress because he has connections to a lot of startups who might purchase my PR outreach service.

This was very different from building a relationship with Tim Ferris who could potentially introduce me to 2-3 people who would have direct connections with my prospective customers.

I also initiated conversations and built relationships with Paul Graham (an investor) and Ashton Kutcher – two very different influencers but equally important for my business.

You may be wondering why a Hollywood actor?

Ashton is deeply connected with the startup community and could potentially introduce me to many startups.

So you see:

An influencer could be anyone who has an audience who might become your customer.

Over to You

Building a media list is easy. The complicated part is when you need to make solid first impressions with journalists so that you get sustainable coverage.

But if you consider the payoff, it’s not that much effort either because isn’t all of what’s good in humanity based on our ability to relate well to others?

Simply use the processes outlined in this post and you will be off to a great start toward having an effective media list and soon, some amazing press opportunities.

The post Media List Examples: How To Build A Media List That Gets You Press appeared first on Criminally Prolific.

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After I wrote a lengthy post about cold email, I got a number of people asking me: “Dmitry, can I use these examples for leads and prospects?”

My answer was always the same: not quite.

Cold emails are often different from conventional business messages.

With the former, your main objective is to grab enough attention to warrant a response.

With the latter, you know a lot more about your prospect (and vice versa). Your aim isn’t just to get noticed, it’s to meet your revenue goals.

As you can imagine, the tactics you should use change accordingly.

So in this post, I’m going to tackle this long ignored topic:

I’m going to show you 27 business email templates and what makes them perform.

You’ll walk away from this knowing exactly what to write in your next message to get opens, clicks and conversions.

Let’s dive in!

Statista’s thoughtful customer-centric email

I recently received this email from Statista after I’d signed up for their free account.

This message was my first contact with Statista. They’d never spoken to me before. Nor did they have any information about me, besides what I’d shared when I signed up with them.

Here’s why this example knocks it out of the park:

  • The subject line “hopes to help:” This sets the tone for the rest of the email. Statista doesn’t focus on winning a deal. It focuses on helping you make better use of its tools. It’s a subtle way of selling themselves, which I’m on board with 100%.
  • They mention a “time difference.” Statista is based out of Hamburg, Germany. They’re 9 hours ahead of the U.S.’ Eastern time zone. So when Allyson asked if I prefer communicating over email, she was being thoughtful. There’s no back and forth about setting up a call at an awkward time.
  • Social proof: I’m not going to buy a service just because a big name brand already uses it. But knowing that Apple trusts Statista gives me confidence in them.
  • Budgetary concerns: As a small business owner, I’m often wary of emailing software companies without transparent pricing. But Allyson proves she empathizes with me on this point by suggesting that Statista will have a solution that fits my budget.

Apart from this, also note the personal “I” tone, which is rarely used in first touch messages. Too many salespeople hide under a third-person pretense of “we.” By using the first person, and saying “I,” you make yourself and your business relatable.

Dmitry's take

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You can use this business email template when trying to get a response from a journalist.

The best way to build a meaningful relationship with writers is to start a conversation. And there’s no better way to do that than by coming across as someone who is trying to help.

Journalists are constantly writing articles in your niche and they are always in need of a quote from an expert. Use your expertise in your niche to provide value to the journalist and they will always remember you as an expert.

You can use JustReachOut or HARO to find relevant questions to respond.


The benefit-focused follow-up business email template

The biggest mistake you can make with follow-up messages is to leave your prospect in the dark.

If you’re simply saying “Just following up,” you’re basically bumping the email back to the prospect’s inbox. If he/she didn’t have enough reason to reply back earlier, simply bumping the email back won’t make your case any stronger.

That’s why I love this example from Avidian. It shows exactly how to work new information into a message thread.

Here’s what I like:

  • It starts with a reminder. Decision makers tend to be busy. Chances are they’re not going to remember who you are or why you emailed them. If you’re emailing after a long time, it’s a good idea to remind them of your last conversation and its context.
  • New information: This template steers the conversation to new information and its relevance to the original conversation (in this case, a LinkedIn group).
  • Reason for the email: This is a continuation of the above – why this new information matters.
  • Benefit: Closing with a benefit works well. Closing with an urgent benefit – “reach sales targets for the quarter” – proves even better. After all, if you’re the VP of sales at a startup, wouldn’t you want to meet your sales targets as early as possible?
The lead tracking follow-up

If you have a way to connect visitors on your site to businesses by using tools like WhoIsVisiting or HubSpot’s prospect tracking, you can get pretty creative with your messages.

For one, knowing that someone from the company you’re targeting is visiting your site can be a great icebreaker.

Here’s a template for using this trigger:

This one is pretty basic in its actual content, but it hits all the right marks:

  • Tell the lead what her teammates were doing: This might seem like it’s a bit stalkerish, but the right way to send such an email is to tell your reader upfront what pages the teammates were viewing. Businesses understand that prospects are often tracked these days, so it won’t surprise them.
  • Invite teammates to join the call: The “10 minutes to discuss” is standard, but inviting others to the discussion makes this closing line more effective.
Following up to a warm lead

Imagine this: A gentleman downloaded an eBook from your site last week using his name, email address and website.

After researching this information, you realized that he’s a perfect fit for your services.

What should you say to him?

Here’s a template courtesy of Attach.io:

  • Clever subject line: “Lofting” is a rare enough word that it will stand out in any inbox. “Let’s get you lofting” isn’t very benefits-focused, but it’s smart. And that’s usually enough to get an email opened.
  • Simple introduction: Since you captured the lead recently, there’s a good chance the prospect still remembers your brand name. Instead of a long-winded introduction, simply stating your name and your company is enough.
  • Simple personalization: Personalization is critical but when you make it too complicated, it reduces your email velocity significantly. This one focuses on a single variable (“your lead generation at [company name]”), making personalization faster.
  • Exact days/times: Instead of going back and forth to decide on a time/day, it’s sometimes better to propose a date yourself and let the prospect propose the right time for a call.

The second paragraph is a bit too long but given the succinctness of the first paragraph, I’d say this is a strong example of a warm follow-up.

Dmitry's take

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Once you have built a warm relationship with your target media, you should use follow-up emails to keep the conversation flowing or adding new context to the relationship.

When you keep communication channels open and continue to build your rapport, it can open up new opportunities in the future.


Emailing a referred lead

As any seasoned salesperson will tell you, referral leads are worth their weight in gold. Knowing a common connection makes getting the foot in the door so much easier while also easing customer FUDs (fear, uncertainty and doubt).

But how exactly do you email a referred lead?

Here’s a template (credit: HubSpot):

Here’s what to love about this:

  • Referral name in subject line: You want your subject line to grab the prospect’s attention. Mentioning someone the prospect knows is a powerful way to do that.
  • Show that you’ve done your research: This single line shows that you’ve actually done your homework. Important to show that you’re not just blindly emailing people.
  • Close with a benefit: The business email template closes by asserting how it has ideas you can “implement fairly easily” and which will have a measurable impact on an important metric: lead conversion rates.
Sending warm leads more content

Sales is a game of months, not days. For high value prospects, you can expect to go back and forth over weeks on end.

During this time, you want to a) keep establishing common ground, and b) keep prospects interested by sharing relevant content.

Use this template from HubSpot to see how it’s done:

  • References a shared experience: One way to establish common ground quickly is to mention an event or experience you both attended. This shows that you share the same interests and goals.
  • Mention business goal: Sales emails aren’t meant to be chit-chat. After establishing a connection, circle back to the reason why you’re emailing them: because your service/product can help them meet their goals.
  • Deliver relevant content: Pretty much the objective of this business email template. Using phrases like “As promised” is a good way to make it sound more natural.
Follow up after a phone call

A good sales practice is to always follow-up to phone calls with an email reiterating the points you discussed in the call. This is not only a good way to keep track of the conversation, but it also gives you a chance to send over any relevant documents or data.

Here’s a business email template you can use to do this:

  • Start by referencing the phone call: This is a pretty generic greeting but it’s personalized enough that it works. Your job is to quickly mention the phone call and the context of your conversation before getting to the meat of your email.
  • Focus on “personal impact”: Remember, the people you are dealing with also want to advance their careers. If your solutions can help them solve personal issues, you’ll have a much better chance of getting their attention.
  • Send additional data: If you’ve discussed any content, data or documents in the phone call, the second paragraph is a good place to mention it.
  • Mention date and time for next meeting: Instead of wasting time going back and forth to find a suitable time, go ahead and mention the schedule that works best for you. If the prospect has any issues with it, she can easily get you to change it.
“Breaking up” with a prospect

Most of your leads won’t turn into sales.

And that’s okay.

Some leads won’t buy because they’re either not interested or can’t afford your product.

A lot of leads, however, are interested in your products but just don’t have the time to commit to a purchase right now.

Instead of fading off the radar for such leads, send them a “break-up” email telling them that you won’t be mailing them anymore.

Here’s the template (credit: Attach.io):

This business email template gets everything right:

  • Clever subject line: This subject line will stand out in the prospect’s inbox (and probably earn you a nice chuckle). Plus, the song (this one) is perfectly relevant here.
  • Make it easy for prospects to respond: Instead of writing a lengthy reason for the radio silence (or worse, no reply at all), give prospects an out by giving them pre-written response templates. Replying to this email will take a lead literally 10 seconds or less.
  • Establish a timeline to restart the sales process: Notice how this email gives prospects a way to restart the sales process in 1 month. This catches all prospects who might be interested in your product but can’t commit right now.
The humorous “break-up” business email template

Humor – if you can make it work – is one of the most powerful sales weapons around. If your brand personality or the rest of your conversations have a humorous lilt to them, here’s a compelling sales template you can use:

  • “Are you okay”?: This subject line is designed to do one thing: get opened. Sure, it’s a little misleading, but be honest: wouldn’t you open an email like this as well?
  • Simple but effective joke: As far as humor goes, this is pretty safe – and it works in context.
  • Give prospects an easy way to respond: Similar to the above break-up email, prospects just have to say (1), (2) or (3) to indicate their preference.
The congratulatory “new announcement” business email template

Did one of your warm leads (or client) recently launch a new product or win a major accolade?

This is the perfect excuse to get back in touch and make a subtle push for your products.

Here’s a template from Yesware showing you how:

  • Optional callback to last conversation. This is entirely optional but if you’ve recently interacted, it’s always a good idea to reiterate it when you email. Besides mentioning the what, you should also mention the why (here – “because it seemed to speak to your situation”). Once you’ve done that, skip straight to the congratulatory message.
  • Ask a genuine question. It’s important here to skip cursory insight and ask something actually meaningful. You don’t want to come across as simply flattering the prospect.
  • Circle back to your own product. While genuine insight and even flattery is nice, remember that you’re trying to close a deal here. Find a way to plug your product into the conversation. For instance, if your prospect just released a new CRM tool, you could mention how they would need PR to promote it (for which you make software).
  • Give a reason for the email. A study by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer showed that people are far more likely to let you do something (say, cut in a line or respond to an email) when you give them a clear reason. The line “the reason I’m asking”  gives you a reason for the email. Plus, it allows you to plug your product in a way that benefits the prospect.
Dmitry's take

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You can just as easily use this email template as a conversation starter with your target journalist. They wrote something recently about your niche. Compliment them about it or point out a unique point in the article that you loved.

This also gives you an opportunity to plug your company, product or service for a follow-up article. Using JustReachOut you can easily create a series of such templates and use them when the opportune moment strikes.


The value addition business email template

If you run a business, you should periodically send relevant content to your prospects.

The reason for this is twofold: a) you get to show that you’ve been thinking about the prospect, and b) you get a reason to get back to your prospect’s inbox.

If you’re sending content to your prospects, here’s a business email template you can use (again, from Yesware):

  • Send content from a neutral party. While you might be tempted to send content from your own resource library, your objective here is to show that you’ve been thinking about your prospects problems, not just promoting your business. An article from a respected third party that’s relevant to the prospect works better in such situations.
  • Ask for guidance. You’re a salesperson, not a clairvoyant. Instead of assuming the problem, ask for guidance with a question like the one above. Make sure that this question is relevant to the article you just shared.

Note how the email is short and keeps the congratulatory tone to a minimum. Flattery works, but only in tiny doses.

Dmitry's take

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As an entrepreneur or small business owner, it is important to find new ways to start a conversation with the press rather than just sending them a fact sheet about your company. This makes for effective PR outreach.

Use this email template to share content that’s genuinely useful and interesting to your target journalist and it will kickstart a meaningful conversation.


The introduction business email template

Your prospects have the same goal as you: to grow their businesses.

Introducing them to someone who can help them reach this goal is a win-win for everyone involved. You get into your prospect’s good books, while the prospect expands her network.

Here’s a good business email template to bring up an introduction:

  • Jump straight to the purpose of the email. Understand that since you’re delivering a lot of value (introducing the prospect to a new contact), you don’t have to write a lengthy, flattering intro. You could even do away with the first couple of lines altogether.
  • Introduce the person and how they can benefit the prospect. Take particular care to mention any specific topics or ideas they might have in common. This will give the prospect a starting point for the conversation.
The “get back in touch” email

If you’ve lost touch with a prospect, here’s an email from Yesware to start the conversation again.

Lots to love here, especially how it kickstarts the conversation by focusing on something relevant to the prospect.

  • Give a reason for the email. This could be anything – a new product launch, a new announcement, or even a new blog post. This works much better than a simple “just following up” message since it gives you a way to tie your pitch to something the prospect cares about.
  • Update your prospect about your product. Mention any product updates or recent changes at your company. This gives you a way to lead the conversation back to your product and also gives the impression that you’re conversing, not just pitching.
  • Push for a meeting. This can be a virtual or actual meeting. Again, always offer exact dates/times and locations if possible to make scheduling easier.
  • Close with a benefit. Remember: emailing is always about how you can help the prospect, not the other way around. Before you close, show the prospect how the meeting/conversation might benefit her.


Rejecting a job application

As a business owner, you’ll often have to say no – to job applicants, to salespeople and to other businesses.

And if you’re a public figure, you’ll also have to say no to unsolicited questions and offers (something I can attest to personally).

It’s tempting to either not reply to such emails or reply back tersely. After all,..

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Hear that?

That’s the sound of stale emails getting dropped into inboxes.

Boring, right?

Aaah! Ooooh! WOW!

And that?

That’s the sound of people reading emails with kick-ass signatures!

Believe it or not:

Email signatures have become a crucial part of our content arsenal!

So now we have to ask ourselves:

Is my email signature compelling enough?

Well, I’m here to tell you:

After scoping out hundreds of sources and thousands of email signatures…

I compiled this fun guide that shows you 25 powerful email signatures and why they work.

You’ll also learn where you can generate similar signatures for your own business.

So, don’t lose out on opportunities because of a lackluster sign-off.

Follow these simple steps to rake in even more cash with just a few tweaks!

Image by Email Signature Rescue

I think you’ll agree with me that email signatures have come a long way.

Not that long ago, they were mostly plain text, like print on a boring white T-shirt.


They’re swanky-cool, hip and functional.

And here’s the best part…

You can use them to market yourself better and build even more respect for your brand.

All that with just a new email signature?


Image by WiseStamp


Achieving Email Nirvana

So ya tellin’ me, after I’ve already got seventeen gazillion things crammed into my overstuffed head, in order to function effectively in today’s market — ya tellin’ me I need to get on this “Perfect Email Signature” bandwagon?

Like it’s gonna mean something to me?


Here’s why:

The email signature is the most neglected
business opportunity in daily communications.

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, the wrong email signature could be costing you money.

You could be losing precious leads and even new sales.

Dmitry's take

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Another reason why a great email signature is important is that it could potentially affect your ability to build strong media relationships.

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, if you are doing your own public relations and sending pitch emails to journalists, a standout email signature will enable you to attract the attention of a busy reporter who is daily bombarded with hundreds of email pitches.


Today, an effective email signature is an integral part of your branding and marketing.

It’s a dynamic and virtual business card embedded in every message you send.

In today’s post, I’ve teamed up with Bobby Kennedy of Robert Kennedy Studio to review a heap of terrific examples – and which one is best for you.

Perfect Examples Over the Top (Animated) Shop Owner Image by Email Signature Rescue

Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer. Biting into the chocolate? Yowie! Nearly as hot as her three animated gifs. Is your card itself edible?

Marketing Rep Image by Email Signature Rescue

Jed is bored, then frustrated, then pensive, then happy, then…?

See Jed and all his game faces. And note all his social media links: Jed is connected!

Software Developer Image by Email Signature Rescue

Michael shows off his flair for design while also gaining respect by showing off that he’s licensed on Google Maps and indoor navigation software.

Standard Email Signatures CEO Image by WiseStamp

Anna shows off a human side with her warm smile. And her understated design evokes professionalism.

Animator Image by WiseStamp

A professional video hooks Dani’s readers. And the clip tells his brand’s story with panache. Now THAT is genius.

Dmitry's take

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Telling your brand’s story not only hooks readers but also journalists. Media people are always looking for unique stories to tell their readers and if you can put that story in a professional video embedded within your email signature, every email you send out to your target journalist or a general press contact has the potential to have an impact.

Another important tip is to put a personal photo with your email signature. This immediately builds trust and gets you incredibly high email response rates.


Online Jeweler Image by WiseStamp

Sindy dazzles readers with her picture, and informs with price. She’s selling you jewelry straight from your inbox.

Lawyer Image by WiseStamp

Joe’s signature showing his smiling face likely helps him win new clients over.

Photographer Image by WiseStamp

Isabel shows off snippets from her portfolio in her signature. Now that’s efficient.

Author Image by WiseStamp

James is neither an Allen Ginsberg clone nor a “Beatnik.” And he doesn’t live in Williamsburg. But he is a heck of an author, with a new book out. You can’t miss his banner!

Realtor Image by WiseStamp

Ben is a top-rated Realtor for Petersen Real Estate. He likes these email signatures, but he wishes they’d update the banner (been ten years!).

Blogger Image by WiseStamp

Jason lives in Williamsburg, and he’s a popular blogger. You can find the link to his latest post right in his signature!

Retail Sales Image by WiseStamp

Merrie sells a ton of designer handbags at MH Fashion. And she even sells them from her email signatures. Imagine that!

Professor Image by WiseStamp

Stephen is a serious professor of biology. He doesn’t appreciate the university enforcing the banner at the bottom. But it’s not a fight he’s going to take up…this semester.

HR Consultant Image by WiseStamp

Anna believes HR Consultants get a bad rap. Thankfully she’s hiring. So now she spends more time with interviews than layoffs.

Family Doctor Image by WiseStamp

Vivian’s smile is the first thing patients see when they meet her. Her practice has this banner at the bottom that features her picture and is getting a huge response. One of her (jerk) colleagues claims it was because she was in the pic.

Guitar Store Owner Image by WiseStamp

Dillon has one of the coolest guitar shops anywhere. He takes his guitars on road shows where they audition in the hands of performers like the guy in the YouTube video. He’s received more leads from that video than anywhere else.

Graphic Designer Image by WiseStamp

Karen couldn’t decide which design site to join for her online portfolio. So she joined both!

Cafe Owner Image by WiseStamp

Jeff’s La Cafe has a top-notch chef and baker. It’s made his place famous in Sunnyvale.

Customer Service Image by WiseStamp

Jennifer is a top-rated customer service rep who has no issue with customers clicking on the link to provide feedback on her service.

Marketing Director Image by WiseStamp

Stephanie fought hard to have her company adopt email signatures for all employees. Her bright idea paid off. Now their email content converts more customers.


Signature Generator

Before we go further, it’s important to get familiar with a term that has gained a lot of traction: “email signature generator.”

It’s software that configures an HTML template, then seamlessly adds this template to email providers like Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, or Yahoo Mail to generate signatures.

Just fill out a form to populate the signature.

Include inputs for “social” and “style” elements to add links and customize design.

Then, press the button and — bingo bongo — you have a new email signature.

Of course, if you don’t want to look like every other Joe Schmo who just discovered how to use an email signature generator, there are the premiere providers who add super-sexy twists.

More about these providers after some basics…

The Basic Recipe

How to Write an Email Signature?

Every effective email signature contains the following elements:

  • Your name, position & company.
  • Active social icons: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Contact number, address & website.
  • A call-to-action: subscribe, visit, watch, buy, request proposal, etc.
  • Write a disclaimer (optional).
Dmitry's take

Implement this tactic right now with our software.

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An effective email signature can even help you increase your brand awareness, improve your SEO and become a game changer for your product or service.

The reason is simple. A video or link in your exclusive email signature can incite the interest of a journalist to get in touch with you for a comment or insight. And you know how being mentioned in the press can skyrocket your customer acquisition ability.


Add Pop! Start with Your Photo!

Ariel Finklestein (above), Chairman at WiseStamp, states:

“Our research shows that digital signatures with a photo get an astounding 32% more replies than those without a photo.”

Dynamic Content

Is rapidly changing content like Status/Sales Updates important to your business? Then include these in your email signature!

Appointment Scheduling

Again, Ariel Finkelstein (WiseStamp) claims that having this button increases appointment scheduling by 15%.

Dmitry's take

Implement this tactic right now with our software.

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Use JustReachOut to find reporters and email them to build your press relationships or to respond to press opportunities and leave the meeting scheduling task to this automated tool embedded in your email signature.

This ensures that you no longer waste time going back and forth with a reporter when trying to schedule an interview and instead use that time to improve your rapport with the reporter and sell your story.


Add More Pop! Digital Security

If you need to send secure emails, you can get a FREE email certificate with encryption and digital signing. See Comodo for details.


If you’re in a highly-regulated industry, like insurance or banking, you’re going to need a carefully crafted legal statement at the bottom of every email to protect the confidentiality of your communications.

Specific CTA (Call to Action)

Note the email signature below contains not just a SALE item, but also the hyperlinked tag in blue: “Get it now.”

Image by WiseStamp Design Klutz?

If you don’t know the basics of design, or don’t know someone who does, you could be doing more harm than good.

Pinterest offers examples of email signatures that exemplify the best and worst in design.

Scrolling the hundreds of samples will give you an idea of what does and doesn’t work.

Fast Company has an evergreen post with 5 tips on what to AVOID:

  1. Including too many different ways to contact you.
  2. Using an image as your signature.
  3. Not being mobile friendly.
  4. Including irrelevant information.
  5. Having a stale sign off.

Already have a designer?

Canva has a few informative articles on email signature designs. See http://www.designschool.canva.com

Buy or DIY?

How Much Do the Best Email Signatures Cost?

Depends on your needs.

Let’s look at your options:

Buying: A Little Money Goes a Long Way

Not only will these providers not break the bank, but you can try before you buy.

If you don’t mind their promotional tag, they’ll let you use it for free.

WiseStamp: Automated and Awesome

Image by WiseStamp

WiseStamp is the gold standard among providers. It has the most user-friendly interface and a ton of options.

Email Signature Rescue

Email Signature Rescue is also an outstanding provider. They’re less expensive for an entrepreneur or small team, but you’ll have to pay upfront. And they offer a 7-Day Money Back Guarantee.

Image by Email Signature Rescue xink

Xink’s emphasis is on data collection and reporting. They also have a lot of documentation. See Samples

xink Hire a Designer

For a custom solution, look no further than places like Etsy and Fiverr.

Many designers can also rework your business logo or your entire brand’s design.

A custom email template can be included as part of a larger redesign package.


If you’ve got some skill at design, you can create an email signature yourself.

Just go to Youtube.com and search for “create email signature” and possibly “create gmail email signature” (or Yahoo or Outlook or whatever email client you use).

Image: YouTube search for “create email signature” Free options

If your budget doesn’t allow for a paid solution now, there are some good free providers. Here are two options:

1) Go “Freemium” by using a paid provider and carrying their promotional tag in every email you send


2) Choose a free provider with the understanding that they don’t offer the bells and whistles of the premium providers.

There are many free providers. Here are a few of the best:


Hubspot might be the best free provider out there now. It costs nothing — give it a spin!

Honorable Mentions:




Final Answer Don’t be boring

If you can afford it, pay for a premium provider. Even if you can’t afford it, go without a few coffees every month. And you’ll be able to
afford it down the line.

For paying a little, you’ll get advertising with every message you send.

NOTE: Whatever solution you choose should work with iPhone and Android phones.

And, if you’re getting a custom solution or doing it yourself, make sure its mobile friendly.

Dress It Up!

Now it’s your turn.

  1. Return to the sample signatures and sign up with a provider (or go DIY).
  2. Try a few different combinations and ask your colleagues and customers for input.
  3. Maybe create a poll as a link within your email signature and gather feedback.

Let us know what your emails are wearing now below!

The post appeared first on Criminally Prolific.

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If you’re a startup founder, then I know how you feel:

You want to grow your company…fast!

I’m the founder of several successful startups myself.

So I’ve been there. And I know it seems tough.

You want exposure, but you can’t afford to hire a public relations (PR) firm.

But I promise:

Learning how to pitch like a pro to get the attention your startup deserves isn’t as hard as you think.

I’m about to teach you how to do exactly that with the 40 simple strategies I’ve outlined below.

And once you’ve read them, you’ll have all the tools you need to be a PR pro.

But, first things first:

What will it take to write an effective media pitch that will get the attention of journalists, bloggers, and influencers?

At JustReachOut we have over 4,000 clients, who are entrepreneurs just like you.

And they all ask me over and over:

How do I pitch myself to the press and to influencers?

Let’s dig a little deeper so I can show you the simple answer to this question.

Here are the key components to writing the perfect pitch to journalists:

  • The body of the email is short but personalized
  • The subject line is also short and simple, yet it has the ability to intrigue the reporter enough to open the email
  • It addresses the reporter by name
  • It’s sent to the relevant journalist or influencer who writes about your niche
  • The email gets to the point quickly
  • If you’ve already established a relationship, and you’re ready to pitch a story, then you clearly explain why an article about your company/product/service would be beneficial to the publication
  • It holds an emotional hook for reporters, so they want more information to encourage a response
  • It doesn’t use buzzwords

Not so tough right?

Here’s an idea for an email that will likely get a journalist’s attention, so you can start to build the foundation for a relationship with that journalist, and eventually pitch yourself, or a story idea, to them:

SUBJECT: Typo in your article

Hey Steven,

I respect your reporting a great deal, love the stories you put out. Crazy to think that there are more people using mobile vs. desktop now. Saw that you have a few spelling mistakes in your recent article, wanted to follow up:

“The project, which was was announced” [Write the sentence with the mistake.]

“The content will be uses for The New York Times”  [Write the sentence with the mistake.]

Looking forward to your next stories. Which article are you working on next?



That’s easy to replicate, right?

But wait, here’s another example:

SUBJECT: Re: Loved your article about [insert the topic which they wrote about]

Hey Steven,

I’ve been following your blog for the past 3 years, so many great insights!

Your recent post about [insert the topic which they wrote about] really resonated with me. I followed it step by step, and I found it dramatically reduced my day-to-day stress.

You can read my post about it here: [insert URL of your own post]

If you’re so inclined, I’d love for you to share it with your audience.

Thanks for publishing your unique tips with the community!



If you can write an email like this and get yourself mentioned in the press, then you can:

  • Make a huge impression on your prospects and customers.
  • Enhance your brand’s trust and reputation.
  • Increase your organic search ranking and site authority, which in turn brings more qualified leads and customers.

Awesome, right?

Hold on, though, because it’s important to realize:

The relationship between your startup and influencers is symbiotic.

While you, as the startup, want exposure in top publications, the media outlets also want to hear from you because ultimately …

They need story ideas!

And they’re always looking for fresh sources.

I’m excited to share the 40 best ways to pitch via email that I compiled with help from the folks at LeadFuze.

Master these techniques, and I’m sure:

You’ll get the attention your startup needs!

Ready? Lets roll…

Here are 40 PR email pitch tips to help your startup get noticed:

Start with Research  1. Spot Your Sources

If your company sells beauty products, would you send an email pitch to a hunting magazine?

I know, that’s a silly question. But it’s important to know:

Sending your email to a relevant niche matters.

Where can you find relevant journalists and influencers? It’s simple…

Follow industry-related publications.

You can search Google News to find these sites, or create daily news alerts.

Let’s go back to the beauty-product scenario.

For this example:

It only takes a little effort to find top publications about your niche.

If you read daily news about your niche, you’ll also notice the same writers who cover topics related to your industry.

Once you read a lot of articles written by the same people, you’ll learn their style and their favorite topics.

And now that you’ve been reading their writing, you can use that information when you pitch your idea.

Another great way to get noticed?

Become a source yourself!

Not only will you be getting your foot in the door as a fellow writer, but you’re providing something of value to the reporter.

Mutually beneficial relationships like these tend to continue to grow.

It gets better:

You can also use online tools and forums.

Finding industry-related writers can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

But if you use tools and forums like JustReachOut, you’re halfway there!

You can also search Quora and Reddit for relevant conversations.

You can get involved in discussions, but don’t (I repeat DON’T) mention your products or services right away. Doing this will instantly demote you to troll status!

At first, share your opinions and provide worthwhile feedback.

Then, set your sights on building a relationship with the journalists you’ve been reading.

You can see a great example of this here.

 2.  Do Your Research

The easiest way to turn off a journalist is to contact them without prior research or knowledge about their audience, what they write about, and what’s important to them.

In addition to creating Google Alerts, you should hone in on specific journalists that you feel have an audience that matches your story and your company.

Even if the writers also cover stories outside your industry, get familiar with those writers, and gain as much knowledge as you can about their readers.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to prove you’ve done your research in an email to them.

Dmitry’s take

“Are you reading blogs or trade publications? Maybe you already have favorite writers? Don’t be shy! It’s time to write those journalists a friendly email. Offer them insight. Fix a typo. Send them an article you wrote. In any case: Be of service to your industry’s influencers. And they’ll find ways to help you in return!”

Implement this tactic right now with our software.

Give It a Try Now!

Here’s a great example:

Hey X, 

I found your recent article, XYZ. It was very educational, and I specifically thought XYZ was fascinating.

If you are looking for sources for any upcoming stories on XYZ, I would love to offer my expertise.

 3.  Twitter Hashtags

Just as Google Alerts will help you follow news stories, hashtags will help you monitor those topics in social media.

You’ll be able to see the latest news and how others are reacting to it.

Following these interactions can help you shape your email pitch to capture their interest.

 4. Build A Presence

Just like sales, cold emails can become warm emails by building a social presence.

In today’s world of journalism, even print writers have their stories shared socially through Facebook, Twitter, etc.

This is your chance to begin following them and build a relationship. Offer quality comments on their articles, so you’ll become a recognizable name.

And then suddenly …

You’ll be much more welcome when you hit up their inboxes.

 5.  Be A Connector

While building your business, you likely have come across excellent sources, both personally and professionally.

Putting reporters in contact with a source you know is a great way to network and establish respect.

6.  Join HARO

Sign up for HARO, and you’ll receive emails twice a day full of requests from journalists seeking sources for articles. Topics are wide ranging and include tech, business, health, entertainment, beauty, science, and finance.

HARO is awesome, because:

  • You can establish yourself as an industry expert
  • You can earn a backlink to your website

JustReachOut has an automation tool so you can quickly search for active HARO queries related to your company and the work you do.

 7. Join YEC

If you have at least $1M in financing or $1M in annual revenue, and you’re 40 years old or younger, you can join YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council).

This will get you great press.

Time To Write  8.  The Subject Line 

Think of your subject line as a first impression.

We’ve all heard:

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Well, when it comes to email, the cliches are true.

So how do you make a great first impression?

  • Keep subject lines 6 to 10 words.
  • Be specific — catch the writer’s interest — why do they need to read your email pitch?
  • Get to the point and illicit curiosity
  • Sound like a person, not a robot
  • Avoid spam filter trigger words, like “free,” “you” or excessive use of punctuation)

Example from Hashtagsandstilettos

 9.   Ditch the Intro 

Don’t waste time explaining yourself or your company.

Jump straight into why your story is relevant to the writer and the writer’s audience.

Remember the five w’s journalists live by:

Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

 10. Short and Sweet 

Consider many journalists get 100 email pitches a day.

I’m not saying this to discourage you, but remember:

Brevity is key.

Suggested length for emails can vary.

Basic guidelines include anything from 20 to 100 words and somewhere between two and three paragraphs.

If you want to make your email even easier to scan, use bullet points.

 11. In Your Own Words

Everyone loves a good story.

Competition, drama, gossip, failures, and unlikely successes make great headlines.


Because they appeal to our emotions.

When you can show a human side to your startup, you’re naturally more likable.

You can get results by asking a journalist to tell your story for you, but consider that you may have more luck telling your story in your own words.

There’s a lot of power in being the voice behind your brand. That’s why guest posts are a fantastic way to start a buzz.

PR of years past required finding a reporter to print your story on paper (yes, paper). Now, even the top publications have websites and encourage contributions from guest writers.

Not convinced?

Take a look at the first paragraph of this contributing writer’s article in Forbes, and tell me you’re not instantly hooked!

Are you as intrigued as I was?

You can read the rest of the post at Forbes.

This story is proof there’s power in telling your own story. Why?

Because Sunday’s success story is genuine and relatable.

Dmitry’s take

“If you can tell a compelling story about yourself and your startup, and that story also proves why you deserve attention, then you’ll get PR in no time!”

Implement this tactic right now with our software.

Give It a Try Now!
 12.  Video for Visuals

Visually stimulating content beats the written word in today’s marketplace.

Why does that matter to you?

You can produce a funny, educational or compelling video to include in your next email pitch.

Publish your video yourself on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebok Live or other sites for powerful PR.

  13.  Poweful Pictures 

I also recommend photos and graphics to build visual interest.

But avoid boring, cookie cutter pics.

Use images that are compelling and relevant.

 14.  Personal & Professional

Take time to make sure you know the reporter’s name and other background info and spell it correctly in the email.

A custom pitch will keep things personal and increase your odds of getting heard.

 15.  Close with P.S.

Use a post script to make sure you’re reaching out to the right person.

For example:

“P.S. If you aren’t the right person to contact for this story, would you be able to let me know who is?”

Attaching a post script with that question makes the request less distracting and more subtle.

 16. Signature = Success

You want reporters to reply, right?

Don’t make it hard for them to find your contact info.

Email signatures make you look professional, and provide contact details for an easy response.

 17. Ask A Question

Finish your email with a question to naturally invite a response.

People love to give advice and share their opinions, so leverage this tendency to raise interest.


Are there any stories you are working on now that need sources?

How far in advance is your editorial schedule laid out?

The Pitch Itself  18.  Share Newsworthy Info

It would be great if you could automatically pitch your product or service to a journalist and have them broadcast it to the masses without any effort.

But, I hate to break it to you:

That will never happen.

If you don’t have something newsworthy to share, forget it.

That’s why you need community events or other newsworthy strategies to be the reason behind your email.

The act of starting a new company or service isn’t enough. So how do you create something worth mentioning?

Check out these 11 soundbites from MrMediaTraining.

  19.  Show Value

Just as you discuss value proposition in sales, you must do the same in PR.

It’s not about what the reporter can do for you, but what you can do for the reporter!

Every good writer wants a great scoop, something that will make their readers happy by educating, entertaining, or provoking thought.

Include this high up in the body of your email so the main hook is front and center.

 20.  Have Empathy

Put yourself in the shoes of the person reading your email.

What would grab their attention and make them open it?

Dmitry’s take

“Start building relationships with influential people. The better you know someone, the more likely you understand what drives their work. Your empathy will also directly affect your ability to provide them with something of value–something they think is worth talking about to others…”

Implement this tactic right now with our software.

Give It a Try Now!
 21. Write How You Talk

Have you ever been talking to a close friend or significant other and accidentally slipped into business jargon mid-argument?

Yeah … it doesn’t go over well.

People like to be spoken to like people. Don’t make your writing sound like a robot.

Write how you speak. Those who struggle the most with writing often forget this key tip.

  22.  Problem Solve

No one wants to hear a sales pitch when they’re not looking to buy something.

Pitch your story as a way to solve a common problem or…

Simplify difficult situations that you know their readers experience.

But leave the sales pitch at home.

Maximum Impact  23.  Be Timely, Always

Pitching the right story at the right time can be tough.

But put in the work and you’ll see results:

Keep your emails current, timely and appropriate.

 24. No Mass Emails

In a nutshell:

Mass emails make you look lazy.

They show you don’t want to take the time to compose a personalized letter.

 25.  Host an Event

Events are worth writing about!

Dmitry’s take

“Need inspiration? The arts and entertainment sections of your local newspapers are filled with events calendars. Or look into joining your local Chamber of Commerce and sponsor an event with them. Consider starting a new Meetup group to generate buzz. The possibilities are truly endless.”

Implement this tactic right now with our software.

Give It a Try Now!

Create your own event, and then promote, promote, promote!

 26.  Give Advance Notice

Journalists often have stories planned out several weeks in advance.

And sometimes …

Editorial calendars are booked up to six months, or even a year, in advance.

Give reporters time to fit your event into their schedule.

If you’re emailing them about an event happening this weekend, it’ll likely be too last-minute.

 27.  Avoid Simple Mistakes

As a writer myself, I can tell you that no one’s immune to the occasional typo or grammatical error.

But when you’re writing to writers, it’s vital to be meticulous …

One typo and you can lose all credibility.

Avoid simple mistakes in that first outreach more than any other.

I can’t tell you how many times a day I re-read something prior to publishing it!

If editing isn’t something you’re comfortable with, get a second set of eyes to sign off before you hit send.

 28.  Don’t Call

One of the most common requests from reporters across the board is: Don’t call me!

Reporters are busy, busy, busy.

Interrupting them with phone calls is a quick way to get yourself blacklisted.

Allow reporters to get back to you on their own time via email.

After Sending  29.    Be Patient

Allow some time for a follow-up.

It’s a necessary part of the PR email pitch process, but…

There’s a fine line between being persistent and being annoying.

Give the reporter time to read and respond before filling up their inbox with a second or third message.

Allow at least 3 to 4 business days to pass before following up.

 30. Reach out Again

Don’t give up. If that follow-up email didn’t get a response, wait 4 to 5 business days and reach out again.

Some journalists get thousands of emails every day!

So even if they were interested in your email pitch, it might have slipped their mind.

Get back on their radar by following up.

I also advise you to install an email tracking tool like Mixmax. Then, you’ll know if the journalist has opened your email, or clicked on any of its links.

If they opened it..

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Getting someone to respond to an ice cold email can be tough.

In fact, maybe you’ve heard, or thought:

“Cold email is dead. It’s SPAM! Stick a fork in it. Within five years, something new is going to replace email.”

I’ve heard these complaints a lot. But I disagree.

What makes me so sure?

Everything I’ve achieved in my career, I’ve achieved … through cold email.

If you don’t have time to read the entire article you can listen to the audio version of it right here below:

Cold email examples broken down to help you write your own - SoundCloud
(2620 secs long, 897 plays)Play in SoundCloud

I took a startup from 0 to 40M page views and sold it to Google … through cold email.

I’ve published 1400+ guest posts and articles in most well known publications … through cold email.

I’ve built relationships with Gary Vaynerchuck, Tim Ferriss, Matt Mullenweg founder of WordPress, the Winklevoss Twins, on and on and on … through cold email.

I grew this very blog from 0 to 20,000+ subscribers in two years allowing me to earn my first $100K from my PRThatConverts program … through cold email.

Just imagine:

You can finally build a business, land sales, and reach your goals … by mastering cold email.

I’ll teach you how with specific examples of cold emails, how they work and why.


Strap in. This is going be a long–and fun–ride.

Defining cold email

Cold email is any email sent to a potential client that doesn’t have an existing connection to you.

Here’s a simple way to think about it:

If you send someone you’ve never met an email you found through a publicly available email address, it’s cold email. Or …

If you email an influencer you’ve never met asking for feedback on an article, it’s cold.

Cold emails should include:

  • Your real name.
  • Your contact information: job title, website, social media profiles, phone number, etc.
  • Customized content for the recipient.
  • A specific request.
  • A conversation starter rather than a request to take quick action.

Cold emails are also:

  • Usually sent from one business to another, or from one individual to a public figure, such as a journalist, influencer, or editor.
  • And they don’t always have a commercial motive.

Cold email is a one-on-one, personal conversation.

It’s like a cold call, but less intrusive and annoying.

A cold email is like sending an email to a business acquaintance, except the recipient doesn’t necessarily know you that well, if at all.

You’d send cold emails to get guest posting guidelines from editors, to get feedback from an influencer, or to start a conversation with a potential client.

Is Cold Email Spam?

Here’s one of the most common questions I get from students:

“How is cold email different from spam?”

Cold email and spam are polar opposites.

Here’s why…


  • Uses a fake name
  • Doesn’t include contact information
  • Isn’t personalized (the same email is sent to several people)
  • Isn’t meant to start a conversation; rather, it’s usually targeting a direct purchase.
  • Has a commercial motive.

Spam is an example of a one-to-many email.

For example, a few days ago I received this email:

Can you see all the tell-tale signs of spam?

This email doesn’t address me by name, and it’s not customized.

Did you notice that it doesn’t have a specific request?

It’s just a generic, “Let me know if you’re interested.”

But also:

There’s no contact information. I have no idea who the senders are, or what they represent …

Compare that example with another email:

Can you see the difference?

This cold email does three things:

  • It addresses the recipient directly.
  • It has a highly specific and relevant request.
  • And it mentions a common contact.

I’m not trying to push a product, or get anyone on the phone for a long conversation.

The real world equivalent of this email would be like saying, “Hi,” to a friend of a friend you bumped into at a conference.

It’s not pushy.

It’s not annoying.

And it’s perfectly reasonable, as long as your call to action isn’t overly aggressive.

For example: “Buy my product!”

Sounds pushy, right?

But if you say: “Let’s get coffee sometime!”

That sounds a lot better.

Want a ‘sniff test’ for spam vs. cold email?

Before you send out a cold email, ask yourself:

Would I be comfortable saying this to someone I met at a conference for the first time?

If the answer is no, then it’s likely spam. If the answer is yes, then it’s a cold email.

Keep in mind that spam is illegal. Send too much spam and you will run afoul of CAN SPAM laws.

Cold Email vs. Unsolicited Email

It’s important to understand:

Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is the official term for spam used by FTC.

And UCE can range from a sales email (like the example above) to a newsletter from a company you’ve never heard of before.

If you don’t want to break the law, you should know:

If you didn’t explicitly give permission with an opt-in form, and it meets the spam criteria above, you can classify that email as UCE or unsolicited email.

Technically, cold email is unsolicited as well.

However, if an email has…

  • appropriate header information
  • is personalized
  • and offers value

… then, it likely won’t be considered UCE or Spam.

Don’t Break the Law

Are you clear about whether an email falls under the CAN SPAM laws?

It can be tricky. So let me break it down:

As per FTC, all emails can contain three types of information:

  • Commercial content, such as selling a product, promoting a sale, etc.
  • Relationship or transactional content, such as a bank sending its customer a bank statement, an e-commerce store sharing transaction details, or a blogger sending a message to his list of subscribers.
  • Other content, which can range from personal content to mixed (relationship + commercial) content.

According to FTC’s regulations, the purpose of an email decides whether it needs to comply with spam laws. If the email is primarily commercial – or is deemed to be so by the recipient – it has to comply with spam laws.

A well-crafted cold email might have a commercial tilt, but it also offers significant value.

Now, let’s get into how you can write amazing cold emails that convert!

Don’t Send Spam

The more of these best practices you follow, the less likely your email will be seen as spam:

1. Use correct headers

The “email header” tells the recipient where the email is coming from.

This is bad:

Always use your own name and personal email address. This shows that you are a real person, not a random business sending unsolicited spam.

2. Use the recipient’s first name

This is the easiest way to show that you didn’t just find a list of emails and spam them – use their first name.

A Hi {First Name} goes a long way towards making you sound more authentic.

3. Make it relevant to the recipient

What’s one of the biggest indicators of a spam email?

It’s irrelevant.

Spam emails seldom address the specific needs of the recipient. They just send out the same message to everyone, regardless of their requirements.

Always ensure that your email offers at least one thing that’s relevant or valuable.

4. Don’t talk about yourself too much

Know how to write a great intro?

Keep it short.

A long intro makes your email harder to read and it makes it sound like spam.

You don’t have to tell them that you are “John Doe from Acme Industries, the leading manufacturer of comically oversized gadgets for wily coyotes.”


The only time you should even use an introduction is if you’re mentioning a common contact!

5. Match the subject line with the email body

Have you seen these subject lines in your spam folder:

“Heard rumors about you”
“Dear friend”
“Urgent! Please read!”

You should avoid these at all costs.

Writing a great subject line is simple, just keep in mind:

Subject lines are meant to tell recipients exactly what they’re going to get in the email body.

6. Don’t use obviously copy-pasted text

Want to get sent straight to the spam folder?

Modern email clients preserve formatting when you copy-paste from one document to another.

See for yourself:

Try copy-pasting the last sentence to a new Gmail message.

If you have obviously copy-pasted text because of formatting, the recipients will be able to spot it from a mile away.

Dmitry’s take

“Remember: Personalization is key for any cold email! Address the recipient by name, and use your real name with your picture in the signature. Or, better yet, create a custom video to make it even more unique!”

Implement this tactic right now with our software.

Give It a Try Now!

7. Add your contact info to the signature

Name, website, social media profiles, position in the company, phone numbers – these are the bare minimum you should have in your signature. If you can add a photograph, that’s great too.


Show the recipient that you are a real person!

8. Track your emails

Are too many of your emails getting left unopened?

It’s a sign that your copy or your value proposition isn’t any good.

Track your email performance, then:

Fine tune to improve delivery.

The email examples below will help you understand and master these best practices:

Score a $3K contract

My old coach and current friend Bryan Harris is a cold email beast! Why?

His emails get incredible response rates!

Want to know the best part?

He shares how you can get the same response rate!

That’s how we have gems like this email:

Do you see what makes Bryan’s email great?

  1. Bryan clearly states that not only is he familiar with the product, but he’s also a customer.
  2. He drops a big name right in the second line. By telling the reader that an industry leader, KISSmetrics, trusts his work, he is establishing respect.
  3. He links to an actual example of his work on the KISSmetrics blog.
  4. Offer value: This is where his email stands out. Bryan offers incredible value by showing what the final product might look like. Sure, it took an extra couple of hours, but by doing this, he ensures that he’ll at least get noticed.
  5. He closes with a question. This increases his chances of getting a response.
What can you learn from this?

If you give away tons of value …

It means more work upfront, but you’ll really stand out in the inbox.

But I know what you’re thinking:

How can I apply Bryan’s techniques to my own emails?

Try this template

I love (recipient’s company). I’m also a big fan of (compliment about a specific part of the recipient’s work).

I (what kind of work you do). I work with (mention a big-name client, if you can).

Here’s an example of my work: (link to the best example of your work or favorite part of your portfolio).

I just wanted to email you to see if (recipient’s company) might be interested in something similar.

I made a demo to show you what it might look like here: (link to custom sample of work that you created upfront for the recipient).

Is this something you’d be interested in?


Land a whale

Close.io shared this example on how to start a conversation with a prospective lead:

Here’s why this email converts:

  1. It clearly identifies the sender, his current role, and what he’s trying to sell. I don’t know about you, but I sure like to know who’s pitching me a product.
  2. “Stab in the dark” is an informal and fun expression. Plus, it shows that the sender has done the research and just needs a final nudge in the right direction. (Pro tip: If you don’t know who to send an email to, just ask!)
  3. The invitation to discuss the product defines an exact time and date. It also mentions the call will be 15 minutes long to respect everyone’s time in scheduling the meeting.
Write an email that works the same way

Want to score a huge meeting?

It’s not that hard:

  • Identify yourself clearly upfront
  • Verify whether you’re talking to the right person
  • Mention exactly how much of their time you want and when you want it.

Hi (recipient’s first name),

My name is (your first name), and I’m (title) at (company name). We are currently offering (describe product/service).

This is just an educated stab in the dark, but based on your online profile, you seem to be the right person to connect with. Or, if not, maybe you can point me in the right direction?

I’d like to speak with someone from (company name) who’s responsible for (position relevant to your product/service).

If that’s you, are you open to a 15-minute call on (specific time/date) to discuss ways (service/product) can more specifically help your business?

Or, if not you, can you please put me in touch with the right person?

I’d appreciate the help!


How to blow minds

If you’re familiar with modern marketing, you probably know Noah Kagan, formerly of Mint and Facebook, founder of AppSumo, SumoMe and OkDork. Noah knows his stuff.

He also gets hundreds of emails every month from people asking for his help.

The following email, however, blew Noah’s mind.

Noah has already done a pretty thorough breakdown of the email, so I won’t go into this in-depth. But there are a couple of things I wanted to point out:

  1. Successful people like to deal with other successful people. The sender, Dave Daily of Grav Labs, points out upfront that he knows his stuff really, really well. It might sound arrogant, but when you’re competing for the attention of busy people, you need to be upfront.
  2. Dave wanted to ask Noah about an app. So instead of fumbling around with an “idea,” he sketched out an entire wireframe. At a time when everyone and his grandma has an idea for an app, a wireframe alone means that you’re already way ahead of the pack.

It’s important to note:

The email is clearly about Noah – what he can get out of meeting Dave – not about Dave. This is a good practice to adopt in all your emails.

Also note the list format. There’s a reason why BuzzFeed works so well – people love to read lists, whether online or in emails.

What you can learn from it

Show that you mean business – a busy person’s inbox is no place to be shy.

You can also get away with writing long emails if you structure it well. For example, use lots of lists and have a clear focus on how it benefits the receiver.

Follow these guidelines to write one yourself
  • 1. Flatter the recipient
  • 2. Establish why your product/service will benefit them.
  • 3. Describe what makes you credible/successful.
  • 4. Suggest a specific and brief time frame for a meeting.
The best pitch ever

Didn’t I tell you that Bryan Harris is an absolute beast when it comes to cold email?

Here’s one of Bryan’s emails, but from the perspective of the receiver (HubSpot).

You’ll notice it’s the exact same email I discussed above, except this time …

It’s customized for HubSpot.

Here’s the best part:

  1. By referring to Ginny’s latest post on the HubSpot blog, Bryan is telling her that he’s not just a random spammer. He’s actually taken the time to read the blog.
  2. One of HubSpot’s closest competitors is KISSmetrics. So, of course, mentioning them in the email would catch Ginny’s attention.
  3. He doesn’t just share an idea – he makes an entire demo video. This isn’t a tweet or a 200-word blog post. Making a video takes time. The free demo not only grabs attention, but also gives HubSpot an idea of what the final product would look like.

What’s the result?

HubSpot was totally sold on the idea.

And Ginny Soskey, who manages content strategy for HubSpot, announced it was the “best cold email pitch” she’s ever received in a blog post that has been shared nearly 2,000 times.

What you can learn from it

Personalize your pitch!

How do you grab attention?

Mention something the receiver did recently (check their blog or Twitter) in the first line.

Land meetings

Takipi is a tool that helps developers understand when their code breaks in production. Since it requires an installation on a live server, selling it to developers can be tough.

Yet, Iris Shoor, the co-founder of Takipi, managed to get five installations from cold emails alone – 1.5x more than what she got through introductions.

This is an example of an email she sent out to a company that used Scala:

Lots of great stuff here:

  1. A nice, succinct intro. Iris gets right into what Takipi does and how it’s relevant to the company.
  2. Iris knows that the company runs Scala, so instead of sending them to the homepage, she linked to Takipi’s Scala-focused landing page.
  3. She mentions the recipient’s Github page and recent projects to show she’s done her homework.
What you can learn from it

Craft an email for one single person.

Don’t tell them anything they don’t need to hear …

Don’t mention anything that might be boring.


Personalize your email for a particular person and explain how your product/service/company can solve that person’s problem.

Dmitry’s take

“Attracting attention through a cold email is kind of like trying to get a hot date in high school. If you’re trying to land a dinner date with one of the most popular people in school, you better prove you have something unique and valuable to offer that person.”

Implement this tactic right now with our software.

Give It a Try Now!
Grab attention

You seriously can’t miss this email if it lands in your inbox thanks to a great visual message!

Scott from Life-Long-Learner.com shared an email that uses an interesting tool to create a powerful visual message.

Here’s the example from his blog:

Scott has a breakdown on his own blog, but here are his most important points:

  1. Scott jumps right in without an intro. This works when you already know the recipient. It can also serve to grab attention. Say, for exmaple, “Your site doesn’t work!”
  2. Scott doesn’t send a long email with a list of everything wrong with the mobile version of the blog. Instead? He creates a visual presentation that depicts what’s wrong (again: show, don’t tell). Also note the little sound warning – a nice touch.
  3. Scott gives value by offering to take care of this problem for Dan. This could turn into a paid contract and a fruitful, long-term relationship.

By the way:

BContext is the tool Scott uses to create these visual..

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What is a media relations strategy?

By definition, a media relations strategy is the calculated deployment of media to tell an organization’s story. It is the process of figuring out a message and distributing it to the right media sources so that you can reach your target market.

Think of it as a fancier word for PR or press outreach strategy.

Media relations strategy has changed a lot in the last decade.

For one, the scope of “media” is a lot broader than it used to be. You don’t just have press outlets and TV stations under this term. You also have freelance journalists, bloggers, influencers, and anyone or anything with an audience.

You can even say that “media relations” today means “influencer relations”.

This new landscape also means that anyone can manage their own media relations strategy. You don’t have to go through gatekeepers and PR agencies anymore; you can connect with influencers directly.


In this piece I’ll share 11 media relations tactics. Use them with the takeaways from my earlier post on marketing communications strategy to get press, backlinks, and mentions in the leading publications in your industry.

1. Write guest articles on targeted publications

I know what you’re thinking: Guest blogging? Seriously?

Now the death of guest blogging has been foretold many times. Most famously when Matt Cutts of Google asked everyone to “stick a fork” in it.

It is true that guest blogging purely for getting backlinks is spammy and a waste of time. But guest blogging for influence and traffic should still be a part of your media relations strategy.

The backlinks are just an added bonus.

For example, last year I wrote a guest post on the Moz blog that generated 140 comments from a hyper-targeted audience.

Guest blogging on targeted publications helps you piggyback on their effort. Instead of building an audience from scratch, you borrow theirs.

You also get access to their search engine authority. If you use the right keywords, your guest article can rank for valuable search terms, giving you traffic and visibility for years.

In fact, the #2 article for “guest blogging” itself is a guest post on Neil Patel’s blog

Essentially, guest blogging enables you to reach an audience outside your network. You get access to hyper-targeted readers hungry for expertise. It has countless benefits apart from backlinks:

  • It builds your reputation; getting published on a top blog is a testament to your quality
  • You can link to a targeted asset in your author CTA and capture high-quality leads
  • Since top publications often have high authority, your guest posts can rank for major keywords and bring you long-term traffic
  • Guest blogging is repeatable. If you can publish one guest post, you can also publish a hundred.

I should know, I’ve published 1,400 articles and counting, plenty of which were guest contributions.

The key to successful guest blogging is picking the right publication. Don’t simply go by a website’s domain authority or traffic.

Rather, look for outlets that have engaged and targeted audiences.

  • Their content should be similar to yours and should demonstrate engaged readers.
  • Check the average number of comments each post generates. Leaving comments on articles is a dying practice, so don’t expect 100+ comments for every post. Even a handful of comments (10+) can indicate engagement.
  • Check if they’ve published guest posts in the past. If yes, how frequently do they publish guest posts vs their own editorial content?
  • If it’s a popular blog, search for them on Facebook Audience Insights. See if their audience demographics and interests line up with yours.

Once you’ve found an outlet, approach them with your idea. If you can’t find an editor or their , look for past contributors. Email and ask them who is the right person to contact for a guest post on the outlet.

Ideally, your idea should align with the publication’s audience interests. It should also fill a gap in their content. For instance, if they don’t have content for an important keyword, they’ll be more likely to entertain a pitch for it.

When creating your guest post, focus on the following:

  • Use Quora and Reddit to find questions and issues your audience actually struggles with.
  • Try to write the best possible version of any content on your chosen topic. Not only is this great for getting published on prestige outlets, it also establishes your brand.
  • Use visuals, infographics, videos, etc. to add value to your content.

Brian Dean has a detailed guide on guest blogging. For help with pitching your guest articles for your media relations strategy, refer to this article on JRO on PR outreach.

Dmitry's take

Another tactic to make your pitches more attractive is to align them to developing trends in your industry.

The best way to spot these trends is to see what top journalists in your industry are writing about. Just search for your keyword on JRO to see a list of target journalists and their recent articles. If you can somehow use these trends in your pitch while still creating evergreen content, your pitches will rarely be rejected.

2. Rank for topics people frequently write about

Imagine that you’re a blogger writing an article about managing a sales team.

Since you have zero knowledge about this topic, you Google “sales management”.

The first result you see is an  article from Pipedrive.

You read the article, gather your takeaways, and mention it in your post.

Pipedrive didn’t have to do anything to earn this exposure. Since it was already ranking for this keyword, the company can sit back and watch the links roll in every month from other blogs writing on the topic.

For example, if you look at Ahrefs data for this page, you’ll find that it has attracted a steady stream of backlinks since it was published, even though there has been no active link building for it (since it already ranks #1).

Much of these links are ‘passive’, i.e. they are from writers searching for “sales management”, and linking to the page, such as this one from Process.st.

Attracting such ‘passive’ links is an often-ignored media relations strategy. It has the dual benefit getting you links while also helping you rank for a key term.

Here’s how this tactic works:

  • Find a topic that writers in your niche frequently write about, or need references for. Usually, these are statistics, studies, and other valuable content that supports their assertions.
  • Create a comprehensive, in-depth content piece on this topic.
  • Build backlinks to this content and get it to rank on the first page for a target keyword.

You’ll find that once you rank well for such topics, you’ll naturally attract additional backlinks from bloggers, writers, and other content creators looking for sources for their articles.

For example, bloggers frequently search for statistics to support their arguments. Top ranking pages for statistics, such as this one from CMI (which ranks for “content marketing statistics”), frequently gather hundreds of mentions from bloggers linking to them.

Here’s an example of Jeff Bullas linking to this page as a source for statistics:

Think of topics that people like to write about in your niche, or topics that require outside validation through surveys and statistics, such as:

  • Roundup of statistics
  • “Definitive’ guides
  • Roundup of academic studies
  • Controversial opinions and studies
  • “Comprehensive” lists

If you can rank for these topics, you’ll find that links and mentions trickle in automatically.

The best way to create content for such topics is to follow the Skyscraper Method.

Popularized by Brian Dean of Backlinko, this tactic involves creating an authoritative article on a topic, then building targeted backlinks to it.

I used this tactic to help Pipedrive rank for the keyword I mentioned earlier – “sales management”.

You can read more about my ranking process in this case study. Learn more about the Skyscraper technique in this article.

3. Use Quora answers to kickstart relationships

A journalist at a top-tier publication receives hundreds of pitches every week. In fact, only 1% of top-tier publications in Fractl’s survey said that they find pitches “valuable”.

There is something cold and impersonal about pitching a journalist. Why should a TechCrunch or ReCode writer care about what you have to say if you’ve never taken the time to talk to them first?

This is why I’ve maintained that building relationships is the foundation of any competent media relations strategy.

When you have a relationship with a journalists, you aren’t just an unknown face from an unknown company. You’re a friend, a fan, and a potential collaborator.

At the very least, it ensures that your message will be read.

The problem is that building relationships is hard. You can easily come across as inauthentic and insincere.

One way to solve this issue is to piggyback on Quora.

Here’s how it works:

Find a journalist at a top-tier publication who you want to connect with.

Dig through their social profiles. See what they’re blogging, tweeting, and Snapping about. Your goal should be to find something that’s common between you.

My “sniff test” is that it should be something I can say to them in-person at a conference and not feel stupid about it.

Once you’ve found this thing, quote them in an article on your own blog. Defer to them as the authority on the topic.

For example, I wanted to build a relationship with Rebecca Grant, a former journalist at Venture Beat. So I found her blog and used a quote from one of her posts in my article.

Now here comes the Quora hack: after you mention the journalist in your article, search for the article topic on Quora. Find a question that has very few or no answers.

Write an answer to this question, making sure to:

  • Link to your blog post related to the question
  • Quote your target journalist in the answer

Here’s my answer to a PR question as an example:

When you do this, you’re essentially promoting the journalist on a platform you don’t own for free. You aren’t just trying to selfishly promote your own content; you’re painting them as an authority on the subject.

This wins you a lot of brownie points with your target influencer.

Once you’ve done this, just shoot the influencer an email. Tell them that you mentioned them on Quora because you love their work.

For example, here’s the email I sent Rebecca:

It might take time, but it essentially puts your relationship building on steroids – a key ingredient for a successful media relations strategy.

4. Answer press opportunities on HARO

What if I told you that you could get mentions in leading publications without chasing journalists?

What if I also told you that doing this was entirely free and required just 10 minutes of your time?


Through HARO.

HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is a service that connects journalists with sources.

Every day, HARO sends out two emails – morning and evening editions – with a list of journalists looking for quotes for their stories. There is a master email with all the queries, and further category-wise lists. You can decide which emails you want when you sign-up.

If you match the requirements of a query, you can simply shoot them an email with your quote.

For example, if you were a career coach, you could respond to this query and land a feature on Fast Company:

All the answers you send through HARO are collected in your HARO profile.

If you work in the business/finance or high-tech fields, you can usually find dozens of suitable queries every week. Answering them usually takes under 10 minutes – not a bad return for a feature in a top publication.

You can make this process even easier by using a tool like JustReachOut. Instead of looking through hundreds of queries every day, use JRO’s search feature to dig through HARO emails for your keywords.

Once you find a query, you can respond to it without leaving JRO.

Dmitry's take

HARO is one of the most powerful sources of links and mentions, but it remains difficult to scale. You have to actively dig through long and text-heavy emails several times a day to spot opportunities.

A HARO search engine – like JustReachOut – makes it much easier to find and respond to press opportunities.

5. Target local TV stations and newspapers

In the hunt for the big feature on TechCrunch and Forbes, you can often miss the “low hanging fruit” of PR – local TV stations.

There are hundreds of local media websites spread across the country, and they’re all hungry for interesting news.

Because these websites don’t have the same visibility as the Buzzfeeds and Forbes of the world, they often fly under the radar of entrepreneurs.

Yet, targeting them in your media relations strategy can yield rich rewards, especially for the amount of effort you need.

Start your search by heading to USNPL. This website lists newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations in every city in the country. This is one of the most comprehensive listings you’ll find anywhere online, and it’s entirely..

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