Response rates to pitches fell in the first quarter of 2022, according to a new study from earned media management platform Propel, and one of the best ways to combat that trend is to keep things short and simple.
The Q2 2022 Propel Media Barometer found that journalists responded to 3.37 percent of the pitches they received in the first quarter, a slide from the average 3.53 percent response rate for 2021.
While the average open rate for pitches was 36 percent, Propel notes that the prevalence of email filtering technology (which can trigger an email “open” without any manual interaction from media contacts) most likely means that fewer journalists are actually responding.
How can communicators increase the chances that their pitch will get a response? From top to bottom, it pays to get right to the point.
The most engaging subject lines, the study found, were from one to five words long. Pitches that stayed to that length had a 5.59 percent response rate. That rate drops to 2.62 percent for subject lines with 10 to 15 words, and hits just 1.87 percent when the word count goes above 16.
Communicators, however, seem to be a little behind the curve on that. Nearly half (46.67 percent) of the pitches examined by Propel were between 10 and 15 words long.
The ideal length for pitch leads was between 50 and 79 words, which resulted in a 4.15 percent response rate. Pitch leads with 150 or more words did much more poorly (0.61 percent). PR pros did better here, with the highest number of pitch leads running from 30 to 49 words long.
For the overall length of a pitch, those with 50 to 149 words did the best, with a 7.85 percent response rate.
Keeping things simple does not just apply to pitch length either. While adding emojis seemed to have little effect one way or the other, putting in too many embedded links was another story. Just 2.69 percent of pitches with four or more embedded link got a response, while keeping the number to two or three brought the response rate up to 3.55 percent.
However, those with no links at all actually did the worst, coming in at 1.5 percent.
Propel’s study analyzed a sample of nearly 400,00 pitches sent during Q1 2022.