Pitch Letters

To do their job, reporters and editors need a continual supply of news tips and background materials. Your role in public relations is to come up with ideas and sell them. On another level, background information so that reporters understand a subject you’re responsible for providing well enough to write intelligently about it.

Pitch Letters

Publicists write a lot of pitch letters, and most of them are not particularly creative. The vast majority in fact, are rather dull and uninspired. Editors and reporters are busy people receiving stacks of mail every day, so it is important to write letters that will get their attention.

First, a pitch letter is at most one or two single-spaced pages. Many publicists draw the line at one page.

Second, a pitch letter should have an enticing lead.

Third, a pitch letter should get to the point as soon possible.

A pitch letter should have the following six elements:

  • Enough facts to support a full story.
  • An angle of interest to the readers of that specific publication
  • The possibility of alternative angles.
  • An offer to supply or help secure all needed statistics, quotes, interviews with credible resources, arrangements for photos, and so on.
  • An indication of authority or credibility.
  • An offer to call the editor soon to get a decision.

Inherent in all this advice is doing your homework. To write a good pitch letter, yol also have to be familiar with the medium, the subjects it features, and how they are соvered.


background materials вспомогательный, дополнительный материал
creative творческий
draw the line ограничить, поставить предел
dull скучный
enticing заманчивый, увлекательный
inherent in smth. неотъемлемый
lead (n) начало
at most максимум, не больше
particularly особенно
a pitch letter рекламно-информационное письмо
a publicist человек, работающий в сфере паблик рилейшнз
single-spaced напечатанный через один интервал
stacks of mail горы почты
statistics цифры, статистические данные
tip совет
uninspired банальный
vast majority подавляющее большинство


1)    Find the words in the text which would describe or mean the following

  1. not showing any imagination
  2. a helpful piece of advice
  3. to set a limit on what you are willing to do
  4. very pleasant or interesting so that you feel strongly attracted
  5. not interesting or exciting —

2)    Make sentences as in the example

Example Reporters and editors / a continuous supply of news tips:
Reporters and editors need a continuous supply of news tips.
  1. Many publicists / the line at one page.
  2. It’s important to write letters / their attention.
  3. Your role / with ideas and sell them.
  4. Publicists / a lot of pitch letters.
  5. Most of them / creative.

3) Match the words which are close in their meaning

credible integral
enticing incessant
inherent imaginative
creative attractive
continual reliable

4) Match the words which have the opposite meaning

specific unaware
creative inconceivable
familiar incomplete
credible general
full uninspired

5)    Insert prepositions

at; with; in

  1. to draw a line__________smth.
  2. to be inherent__________smth.
  3. to be familiar__________smth.
  4. to come up __________smth.
  5. __________fact
  6. __________most

Write down your own sentences with these expressions.

6)    Can you explain the following

To do their job, reporters and editors need a continuous supply of news tips and background materials

7)    Speak on one of the six elements which a pitch letter should have and which you find the most important

When expressing your opinion, use the following:

  1. In my opinion
  2. From my point of view
  3. Personally, I think that
  4. It would seem to me that
  5. As I see it
  6. Frankly, I think
  7. I reckon

8)    Here is a sample of a pitch letter. Writing pitch letters is a fine art and an important key to media coverage.

Notice that the lead paragraph immediately gets the reader’s interest. Translate the letter into Russian. Try to make it as enticing in Russian as it is in English:

September 28, 1990
Ms. Sue Cross
230 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, II, 60601

Dear Ms. Cross:

It may have taken the president to give Kennebunkport, Meine, a place on the map, but a 10-year-old boy is literally putting the small hamlet of Parrott, VA., «on the map».

Young Chris Muncy from Mishawaka, Inc., wrote a letter to Randy McNally last year asking that Parrott, home of his grandparents and great-grandmother, be added to the company’s top-selling Rand McNally Road Atlas. Muncy often traveled to Parrott (population 800) to visit his grandparents and found planning the route difficult without the small town on the map.

Now, thanks to Chris Muncy’s letter, on October 2, Parrott, Va., takes its place on the map in the 1991 Rand McNally Road Atlas. It marks the 67th edition of the nation’s best-selling annual paperback.

The new Rand McNally Road Atlas, updated annually, includes thousands of changes from the 1990 edition. These include additions of towns, highways, state parks, rest areas and other points of interest that are vital to the traveler.

The attached news release provides more information on the 1991 Road Atlas from Dr. Michael Dobson, the man who «puts towns on the map» for Rand McNally and leads the company’s year-round effort to keep American motorists from getting lost.

I’ll call you soon to determine your interest in pursuing this story. Should you require additional information, please contact me or Jim Heininger at 312/266-4550. We would be happy to arrange an interview for your with Dr.Dobson or Chris Muncy to further discuss making it «on the map».

Sincerely. Jeff Beckman Account Executive


Rand McNally Atlas — атлас «Рэнд Макнэлли». Географический атлас производства компании «Рэнд Макнэлли энд Ко», специализирующийся на картографических изданиях и выпускающий разнообразные атласы и отдельные географические карты. Эта издательская марка — знак высокой надежности картографических сведений.

Kennebunkport — Кеннебанкпорт. Город на юго-западе штата Мэн на берегу Атлантического океана, основан в 1629 г., модный летний курорт. Дом экс-президента Дж. Буша M.=Virginia — Вирджиния. Официальное сокращение названия штата.