Dear PR Lady: Here's Why I Didn't Open Any Of Your 3 Email Pitches (Although I Wish I Had)

Reid Hoffman LinkedInWhy didn’t you just SAY Reid Hoffman was an investor?

Photo: LinkedIn

Atomic PR has sent me at least three emails about a new startup, didn’t open any of them until I saw the news — which was actually interesting — up on other sites.

The startup they were representing, raised a big $7.9 million Series A from some amazing investors: Mike Maples, Reid Hoffman, Kevin Rose, and Scott Belsky, to name a few.

Anything those people are interested in is something I’m interested in covering. And Rally is actually a decent-sounding startup.  It’s a social fundraising platform that helps anyone with a cause raise money and share their stories.

Here’s what Atomic did wrong.

Due to an absurd amount of startup pitches that infiltrate my inbox, I’ve learned to manage emails by scanning for three things:

  • The sender
  • The subject title
  • The first sentence

I use Gmail, so those are the three things I can see without clicking to open the message.

The three emails I received from Atomic were titled:

  • The Trouble with Pebble: Kickstarter competitor Sheds Some Light
  • Embargoed News: secures unique round of funding from superstar investors
  • Social fundraising platform raises $7.9 million in Series A funding online

Here’s why I didn’t open them:

  • I had never met or heard of the people sending me the news, and it was clear they didn’t know me either
  • I had never heard of, so using the startup’s name in the subject title wasn’t alluring
  • “Embargoed news” isn’t particularly compelling either. No reporter wants news every other publication will be receiving. They want exclusives!
  • The most interesting part of the news, the investors (which help give unknown startups credibility) were never mentioned up front
  • The most compelling (final) email arrived in my inbox after the news was already out (it was a short email followed by a press release). It still didn’t list any of the impressive investors up front.

So, I missed the boat, and so did Atomic/Rally.

For more specific tips on what I look for in email pitches, read: 10 Dead-Honest Reasons Reporters Delete Your Emails >

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