Tag Archives: How to Write a Press Release

Advanced Press Release Pitching

How to Write a Media Pitch that Attracts Viral Attention

Press release pitching is one of the most difficult parts of a public relations profession. Combine your tight deadlines with the stress of unrealistic clients who want front page Wall Street Journal coverage for every new product launch or charity event, and you are destined for a stressful day.

Advanced Press Release PitchingBusinesswire.com has a great article on writing press releases that will gain you media attention. However, while the tips for writing a press release that draws media attention are not much different than those needed to write a strong pitch, there are additional considerations needed to ensure you capture the attention of the one or two media journalist you want to see coverage from. That said; it’s helpful to keep these tips in your back pocket when developing a pitch.

Sell a pitch that includes several of the top eight importance factors in the body.

The Public Relations Journal recently released a study on the correlation between what journalists view as important news compared to what public relations professionals view as important news. While the study highlights that more times than not, media and public relations professionals weight the importance factors equally, pitches do not always include the details to draw media into those attention-grabbing facts.

Make sure that your pitch highlights at least three of the Journal’s eight importance factors, which include:

  1. Localness/proximity – relevant to your market / area
  2. Timeliness – recent or in the near future
  3. Immediacy – breaking news
  4. Prominence – includes people / places of interest
  5. Cultural proximity – how the topic relates to your local audience
  6. Unexpectedness – unique statistics or facts readers wouldn’t expect
  7. Human interest – entertaining/interesting
  8. Significance / consequence / importance – why people should care

Journalists are people too.

Just like you, journalists are people with real lives and crazy workloads. They are balancing their 200+ daily work emails with trips to the dry cleaners, late night soccer practices, and overnight deadlines. They do not have time to read a 500 word pitch. Keep your pitch short and to the point. Offer just enough detail to help them envision the start of their story before they even pick up the phone to talk to you.

Additionally, it is important to make your pitch personal. Begin a pitch addressed to the specific journalist’s name. If possible, bring up a personal detail about your relationship with him.

“Hi Jim – it was great meeting you at the trade show last week. I’d love to schedule some time for us to chat more about the new product launch I referenced during our conversation.”

A personal touch goes a long way. You might not always get the response you wanted, but you should at least get a response that will leave the door open for future pitch conversations.

Keep your pitches original.

Every journalist wants to have a breaking story. Pitching the same content to three leading newspaper publications will not receive a favorable response if more than one accepts the interview and they end up writing the same story. Include items in your pitch such as, “These details are exclusive and only will be shared with your publication,” or, “We wanted to share this news with you first.” If the publication is a strong one, it might be worth giving an exclusive interview to secure leading coverage and a great working relationship with the publication for the future.

Not sure you agree with the original approach? Check out this article from Forbes on the top tips for press release pitching, written by Mikal E. Belicove, a top Forbes columnist.

~ Katie

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Filed under Content, Marketing, Press Release Writing, The Writing Process

How to Write a Press Release

By My Web Writers

While distribution methods have changed over the years, the most important aspect of mass producing your message remains the same- provide engaging content in your press releases. Remember these press release writing tips:

Write a Headline that Pops

When a news reporter picks up a press release from the fax machine or email inbox, he or she can be quick to dismiss it if the headline isn’t relevant or interesting. Make sure your headline gets to the point but also engages the reader.

Press Release Writing Basics

A typical press release does not include fancy adjectives or fluff. Your job is to present the basic facts to the media so it can take the information, build on it, and then present it to the public. What is the reason for the press release? Include the essentials up front.  Don’t bury important information. One way to make sure all bases are covered is to remember the Five W’s and the H:

Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How in Press Releases

If your press release covers those six questions, you have likely covered the most important information that the media needs.  When in doubt about what to include in your press releases, consult a marketing writer to write or edit your content.

Check Over Your Press Release

As a representative of an organization, you want to appear professional. It’s imperative that the press release be accurate and free of grammar and spelling errors. Sometimes press releases have to be written very quickly in order to get the information to the media as soon as possible, but be professional and accurate.

Include Press Contact Information

The media will almost always want more information. It’s the job of the media to ask additional questions. Make sure they know where to go to ask those questions. Should they call you? Do they need to contact someone else? Make it obvious who needs to be contacted for additional information. If you don’t, your inbox will be flooded with requests for that extra info.

Finish up with an Industry Standard

Professional press releases end with three pound signs (###). These signs tell the reader that he or she has reached the end of the press release.



Filed under Press Release Writing