6-point checklist for making sure your sustainability tech pitch is newsworthy

From managing energy with innovative power solutions to decreasing the CO2 impact from food waste, impact-driven tech startups are actively decreasing our carbon footprint. So why isn’t there more coverage of these companies driving change?

Where many go wrong when approaching the media is by thinking “the more the merrier.” In fact, overwhelming journalists with information in your pitches signals to them that you don’t understand the hook of your story or what’s important to their audience. So, before communicating your green initiative in your next pitch, consider this six-point checklist to get your eco-conscious startup noticed and make the headlines.

1. Give journalists no choice but to be enticed by your subject line

Journalists get hundreds of emails daily, and even if they wanted to, they couldn’t possibly answer each one. You need to grab their attention from their first glance, showing that you’ve got something that’s immediately attractive to their audience. In order to provide the perfect teaser of what’s to come in the full pitch, start by putting the most outstanding facts, names, and brands at the beginning of the subject line. For example, if your startup just completed a Series C funding with Greenpeace or the World Wide Fund for Nature, don’t be modest — put it front and center.

Show journalists and their readers that sustainability is no longer a side issue or just a worthy cause. It’s our duty to help Mother Earth.

Your first idea is never the strongest, so craft at least five different versions of your subject line and eliminate one at a time, depending on how clear, customized, controversial, and catchy each one is. However, keep in mind that many journalists are multitasking and skimming emails on their smartphones, so shoot for between 41 and 50 characters, or 6 to 8 words. That way the full subject line is visible on a mobile device.

You can cut down on your title by removing adjectives and sentence etiquette. In other words, channel your newsroom voice when writing the subject line, which typically uses active verbs.

Example of a mediocre subject line:

  • Expire proves that perishables are the prime contributors to greenhouse emissions

Example of a good subject line:

  • Meat is the carbon culprit behind food waste

Customization is also as important here as it is within your actual pitch. For example, if you have an AI-driven solution like Wasteless that helps solve the third biggest contributor to climate change — food waste — here’s how you could adjust your angle for different journalists. A retail writer may be more concerned with how your AI cuts food waste by 50% and increases revenue by 110% in 12 weeks. An environmental writer covering climate change may be interested in how you’re reconditioning consumer behavior and reverting food insecurity.

On the other hand, a journalist writing for a mainstream outlet in the United States might be concerned with food causing 25% of all carbon emissions and how you’re preventing Americans from paying a premium for steaks with a longer shelf life.

Ultimately, every pitch you send out should have a different, captivating subject line and body of text that will connect with the recipient. If you’re finding this to be an uphill battle, work in reverse and write your subject line after you’ve nailed the most newsworthy details in the pitch itself.

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