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How to Increase your Email Pitching Success
How to Increase your Email Pitching Success

Tips and tricks to improve your Agility distribution open and engagement rates

Andrew Woodall avatar
Written by Andrew Woodall
Updated over a week ago

Below are some tips for ensuring your emails achieve the results that you and your content deserve.

Some sources and further reading:

Subject Line - Keep it short and to the point. Try a subject with fewer than 10 words if you can.

The pitch - Again, be concise. Tell your audience what is happening or what is changing as a result of your announcement as quickly as you can. Journalists get A LOT of emails.

Make it personal - In our research, 74% of the emails with the top open rates, had a From address that belonged to a person rather than a group. E.g. From 'Alex Murphy at Agility', not From 'Comms Team'


"Brevity shouldn’t stop at word count" - You need links in your release, so journalists can find the further information they need. Don't go overboard, though. 2-3 is enough.

Number of contacts - The majority of emails with top open rates are sent to fewer than 500 recipients.

Which day is the best day to send a release?

According to our most recent research. Tuesday to Thursday is the most popular time for email pitches, and of these days Tuesdays showed up as the most successful day to get good open rates and responses. However, this suggests that Fridays or Mondays could be less busy times for inboxes, and you may get higher levels of engagement with pitches, relative to volume.

General Best Practice For Email Distribution

Manage your Targeted Lists

  1. Build your lists carefully. Agility allows you to target by subject, past coverage, geographic coverage, job role, media type, etc, so you can and should make sure you send content to appropriate people.

  2. Periodically review your lists and make sure that the contacts on them are the appropriate recipients for the content you are sending. Saved searches will allow you to add new and updated contacts as often as you wish.

  3. Remove contacts that unsubscribe to your content from the lists that you distribute to.

  4. Sending distributions to emails that no longer exist or have been disabled, sends off a signal to email providers that you distribute to ‘bad email accounts.' As a result, the spam filters will penalise your domain or IP address with a higher spam rating/score – and thus increasing the possibility of your distributions landing in the recipient’s junk folder.

Do not send to excessively large numbers of people

  1. Agility allows you to target by subject, past coverage, geographic coverage, job role, media type, etc, so you can and should make sure you send content to appropriate people.

  2. If you do have a list of several thousand contacts, try to split them into batches and send email distributions to them at 30-minute intervals. Most email providers’ spam filters check to see how many messages you’re sending at a time. Your distribution can be flagged up if the recipient’s spam filter sees that you are sending too many emails at once.

Avoid the appearance of spamming

  1. Try to avoid using all UPPERCASE letters.

  2. No overly formatted or coloured fonts

  3. Do not use multiple exclamation marks!!!

  4. Do not use SPAM trigger words

  5. In general, avoid any term which is anxiety-inducing; creates a sense of urgency; sounds trashy or cheap; is too good to be true; or contains anything illegal or malicious.

Do not send an image-only distribution.

  1. Spam filters scan emails for words such as ‘free’, ‘viagra’ etc. – and these words are oftentimes embedded into images. So, when an image-only email arrives, spam filters will assume the worst about your distribution.

Be savvy with your attachments

  1. Avoid attaching certain file types.
    Acceptable: JPEG/JPG, GIF, PNG, and PDF
    Avoid: ZIP, EXE, etc.

  2. Avoid appending attachments that are too large in size.
    It is advisable that you put all attachments into a folder on Dropbox, and insert the hyperlink into the body of the distribution.

What is a bounce?

A bounce occurs when your email went to a specific address, but the mail server for that address sent it back saying it was ‘undeliverable.’ There are many reasons for this:

  • A soft bounce happens when the recipient’s address is correct, but the email was still returned by the server before it reached the recipient. A full inbox, a server that’s down, a message that’s too large, or even an auto-reply can all cause a soft bounce.

  • A hard bounce happens when your email is considered permanently undeliverable because there was either a problem with the recipient’s address – such as a typo or a change of domain name – or the recipient unsubscribed or marked your message as spam at one point.

  • A deferred email means that the receiving server has temporarily limited access to its system. It does not mean that your message will not be delivered. Rather, it is a signal that your message will not be delivered immediately. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons a message might be deferred at an inbox provider are that the inbox provider is seeing a large number of emails from the same domain or that the receiving server is having technical issues at that time. The system will attempt to resend a deferred email for up to 72 hours from the first attempt. If the deferred email is still undeliverable at this time, the email address is marked as undelivered and placed on the bounce list.

  • All of these emails will then get sent to media research for vetting. They will then update all the contacts on the back end.

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