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Pitching With Outlook

Sending out pitches using the Propel Outlook add-in

Sending a Pitch

The most basic PR workflow is to send a single pitch to a single reporter. This is where we will start. Let's open a new email in Outlook.

The first step we take whenever we send a pitch with Propel is to connect the email to the correct pitching initiative. This ensures that the pitch is tracked in Propel. Go ahead and connect your pitch to one of your pitching lists.

Selecting a pitch in Outlook

Once your email is connected to a pitch, you will see additional options become available in the sidebar. Notice the Send button under the Single Send options. Whenever you send a pitch to a single contact using Propel, you will use this Send button instead of the normal Outlook Send button.

We'll take a look at the other sidebar buttons a little later.

For now, write and send your pitch normally. You've already done everything necessary for your pitch to be tracked in Propel.

Why don't I see my pitch recipients in the 'To' field?

When sending pitches using Propel, your recipients will not appear in the Outlook 'To' field. Instead, you will see them listed in the sidebar.

This is the normal behavior, and it also prevents you from accidentally clicking the regular Outlook Send button instead of the Propel Send button. If you change your mind and decides to disconnect your email from a pitch, your recipients will be put back into the Outlook 'To' field.

What happens once my pitch is sent?

Sending an email that's connected to a pitch gives you the following benefits:

  • Open tracking – see which emails have been opened and how many times so that you can focus your follow-ups
  • Response tracking – automatically be notified when a reporter responds to your pitch to enhance response speed
  • Reporting – automated reporting based upon pitches sent, opened, responded, and articles published. Say goodbye to manual report generation!

These topics are discussed in more detail in other knowledge base articles.

Sending a Mail Merge

While personalized pitching tends to be the most effective, there will definitely be times when you need to get a pitch out quickly to a large media list with minimal customization. That's where mail merge comes in.

If you have never used mail merge before, the concept is simple. Write a single email, add the contact name and media outlet as variables, add your entire media list to the 'to' field, and send the email. Unlike a regular email, with mail merge, each recipient will receive their own copy with only their name in the 'to' field and with all variables replaced with their personal details.

With Propel, we make sending a mail merge simple. Let's start by choosing our recipients.

  1. Open a new email in Outlook.
  2. Select your desired pitching initiative, the same as we did when sending a single email.
  3. Click "This media list" from the sidebar. This opens a list of everybody that you added to the pitching list from the Propel web application.

View your media list in Outlook

The media list screen gives you full access to your pitching list from within Outlook. You can:

  • Search for contacts on this list
  • Filter by tags or the filter menu
  • View last contacted details for each contact, and whether the person was already pitched for this campaign
  • Select one or more contacts for your email

For now, select one or more contacts you would like to pitch. You can use the Select all button if you would like to pitch the entire list at once. Then click the Select button in the bottom right corner. This adds all contacts to your email.

Your media list – selecting contacts to pitch

Now that you've added some contacts to your email, you should write the email itself. Because this is a mail merge, we want to use variables instead of personally identifiable information such as names and media outlets. Use the Insert placeholder button to add the appropriate variables. These will be replaced when you send the email with the personal details of each recipient.

Inserting a variable

Just like that, your email is ready to go. Click the Send button under Mail Merge button in order to send the email. This will ensure that each contact gets his or her own personalized copy. Furthermore, each email sent will be recorded individually in Propel for easy follow-up and tracking.

Scheduling Your Pitch

If you would like to write your pitch now and send it later, you can use Propel's scheduling feature. Scheduled emails are sent even if you are not at your computer, and even if your computer is turned off.

You can schedule individual emails or mail merges using the Schedule button under Single Send or Mail Merge, as appropriate. For more information about scheduling pitches, please see Outlook Send Later.

Creating Bulk Drafts

While mail merge is great for pitches that require minimal personalization, we all know that PR is most successful when we personalize our pitches individually for each reporter. For that reason, mail merge is not always the best option. Propel gives you a second option that allows you to take advantage of bulk composing while still enabling full personalization. We call this option Generate Drafts.

To generate drafts, follow all the same steps as for sending a mail merge, but instead of clicking Mail Merge Send, click Drafts. Rather than sending them all at once, Propel will get your emails ready for you and place them into your drafts folder. You then access any of these emails directly from your drafts folder, add the personal touch required for the intended recipient, and then send them one by one.

You just saved a ton of time preparing all of your pitches!

To learn more about pitching with Outlook, check out these helpful product tutorial videos:

Pitching with Outlook
Generating Drafts