September 18, 2014
You have created a press/news release. It has been edited several times and vetted through all the proper channels. Now what?
Crafting a press release or pitch is only half the battle when it comes to attracting media attention and achieving positive news coverage. Where you send a press release is often more important than what you send. Use PR to help you make the right decision for maximum effect.
Do your homework
According to a recent survey of 500 journalists, most of them write only one article a week. By contrast, they each receive between 25 and 100 press releases and pitches every day. You must make your information stand apart from all the clutter.
The quickest way to become part of the clutter is to send your press release to just anyone. Your chances for coverage will increase if you establish a relationship with the journalist first.
Find reporters, editors and outlets that will be most likely to write articles about your industry. Don’t forget to include online and Web-based publications in your search. Then research them for a while. Discover their specific areas or beats and comment on their articles if appropriate.
Once you have a fairly good idea about your chosen journalist’s beat, offer information. You can contact the reporter even if you have no company news to pitch. Offer your services (or your CEO) as an expert in your field or present an idea for a story about something exciting going on in your field. Even if the corresponding story does not mention your company, you will have made the reporter’s job a bit easier and she’ll remember you when it’s time to get publicity for your own organization.
You don’t have to settle for just one media list. In fact, you definitely shouldn’t. Your media lists should be carefully targeted, depending on the subject matter.
Critical information for any press release
After you’ve developed your media list, there are still a few key points to keep in mind:
Spell the reporter’s/editor’s name correctly and make sure you use his or her current title.
Make sure you have the right journalist for your press release. Pitching to the wrong journalist is a waste of time. Typically, they don’t pass along your information to a more appropriate reporter – they simply throw it away.
Start with a great headline or title.
Pay attention to how each journalist prefers to be contacted. Nothing will make you look worse than emailing a press release when that reporter has specifically requested faxes.
Include visuals. This can include photos, infographics and even video to help you tell your story.
Be aware of deadlines and editorial calendars. It may help to create segmented media lists, categorized by outlets and publications which publish daily, weekly, monthly, etc. An order to “Stop the presses!” doesn’t really happen anymore.
Don’t forget to publish the press release on your own website in addition to external distribution.
Most importantly, be sure to include your contact information and availability for followup.
Attracting media attention even without a press release
The better influential media and journalists know your company, the easier it will be to garner attention when you have something to announce. In addition to having a great press release, it is critical to find opportunities to get your name out there.
A few tactics include penning opinion pieces on subjects in your industry, conducting workshops or seminars in your field, winning significant awards and sponsoring surveys or contests.
It may be time to call in a PR firm
This can all be a lot to remember and, additionally, many companies just don’t have the time, manpower or expertise to handle it all. Let the experts at Axia manage your media relations for you. We can maximize your positive news coverage for publicity, increased visibility and, of course, profitability. Download our e-book Learn Media Relations from the Media or contact us today to learn more.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.
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