It’s almost CES 2020 and once again it happened. Around this time every year, the press emails start making their rounds to inboxes announcing new products, invitations to schedule meetings and booth tours at CES.
I get that. I have NO problem with that. It’s how we get to know what is coming and what to prepare for.
However, what never fails to amaze me is just how bad these emails are. It’s amazing to me that companies spend thousands of dollars on securing a booth, flights, hotels, expenses, people and then hire the wrong PR company to market their brand or worse – do it themselves.
Having attended countless events around the world, I and most journalist/ media people would usually have a day or two for pre-scheduled meetings and the rest of the time left open to explore. But time is precious. The venues are huge, and vendors are spread between multiple locations.
Therefore, as Media, we get very selective about what we commit to and the priority will always be on paid-for work. The trick is to get our attention for long enough for us to say “wow – I must make time for this” versus hitting the delete button and moving onto the next email.
10 Email Mistakes You Are Making When Pitching Your Business To The Press for CES 2020
In order to try to save the sanity of many-a-journalist, and perhaps help a company or two cut through the email clutter, allow me to offer the following list:
Mistake 1: Subject line: CES 2020
Not so smart. You and EVERYONE else has a subject line titled CES 2020. Seriously stop it. CES 2020 by itself means that I will drag it to my “check later” folder which…eh…never gets checked. Ever.
How about adding something meaningful like “New Mobile Product that will blow your socks off – CES 20202” or “Think you have seen the best X? No you haven’t but you will at CES 2020”
Oh and equally useless is “INVITATION: CES 2020”
(also check out some of these Email Subject Mistakes)
Mistake 2: Don’t use an image as the body of your email
Oh my. The fact that this is still a thing is shocking. An image as the body of the email might look pretty but we cannot copy-and-paste important info like locations, times, people’s names etc.
It is so frustrating.
Mistake 3: Get to the Point. Quickly
Yes I had a nice weekend, and yes I am well and yes I will be going to CES as you got my email address from the CES Media List. You are wasting time and effort.
In the first two lines, get to the point – tell me about the widget and why I MUST dedicate my precious CES time to come and see you.
I don’t care who the founders are, where they grew up, why they decided that the world needs this widget. Not yet at least.
Get my attention and make me care about that stuff and then I am delighted to get into the background and the rest of the blah blah stuff.
Oh and also DO NOT send a 15 page PDF file with the body of the email saying “please see attached.”
I have another 2452 to get through so your email goes into the “Check later” folder which…see above.
Mistake 4: I am lazy – Make it Simple
We are visual. Our eyes are drawn to images vs paragraphs of text.
When talking about your client’s product or service add a picture – that’s the first thing I see. If the picture is awesome/ inviting/ strange, I am more likely to read the rest of the marketing gumf in the email.
A link to a video showing it in action would be amazing! If it’s something I am going to cover, now I WANT to read everything about it.
Mistake 5: Double Check. Get mom to check
It sounds ridiculous, but so many emails contain links to products/ specs/ documents/ images that are dead links.
They might work in the office, on your server, behind your firewall, but for the rest of us they don’t.
Send a test email to a Gmail account or a friend’s account or your mom’s account and ask them to click on every link to make sure all is working.
Mistake 6: Online vs. Print
When you send your stunning high-res images to the magazine to be printed, they need the 43 Mb High-resolution image. However, when you are just trying to get the attention we don’t need that huge high-res image of the founders shaking hands thank you very much.
If I need a high res image, I will ask for it. I promise.
Mistake 7: Think Mobile First
Emails come in like a never-ending flood and while we check our emails on our computers, we have these things called Cell Phones where emails arrive when we are mobile.
If I see an email on my phone and its unreadable or contains huge attachments or has images for a body, I might love it and have all the intentions to read it later at the office, but it is now marked as read so I will probably not get back to it.
A great service I saw was one email saying – if you love this, reply with anything and we will resend this email to you in 5 hours time. Brilliant.
Mistake 8: Basic Email Etiquette
I love seeing which of my colleagues are going to be at CES, but it is such bad practice to put everyone’s email in the TO field. That is what BCC is for. Use it.
Mistake 9: Eh…whats the product?
It’s incredible how many times I receive an email that doesn’t actually tell me what the product or service is.
As much as I want to schmooze with people that I don’t know about a product that I don’t know, I am going to pass.
You could be the most high profile business, but rather assume that the media has never heard of you. This way you cover your basics and you don’t have me trying to decipher why I know the name of this business….
Mistake 10: English. Please.
I fully understand that the entire world does not speak English. Nor should they.
However, when addressing an English-speaking publication, it is best to ensure that the first contact with the company (ie the email) should be written in readable English and not something that Google Translate spits out.
You are spending so much money on CES, spend a couple of extra dollars on a professional translation service and put your best foot forward.
It makes a big difference with the first impression.
So in summary:
These are typical mistakes companies, brands, agencies make when contacting “The Media” and the same rules apply year-round and not just for events.
We are constantly looking for amazing stories but so many email pitches try to shove so much info that it loses the essence and simply lands up in the trash.
The mission is simple: get the person you are pitching to interested quickly so that they want more info.
Hope this helps.