You’ve got a great big news announcement and know you have to produce a media release. But do you? Yes, a release is a foundation document to kick-of any media relations project, but there is more to PR than a media release and a long media list.
A press or media release is used to grab the attention of editors, journalists, bloggers and gain interest in your story. The media release should be interesting enough for a journalist or editor to want to call or email you back wanting more information.
Media Release tips:
A media release is a good document to have, but getting a story published will require more:
A. Research the Media
To make sure your story fits with the publication it is necessary to be familiar with the publication. Know what stories they cover, what angles they pursue, regular columns that might be a good fit with your story.
B. Connect with Journalists
In this era of hyper-connectivty, it’s a crime not to connect and engage with bloggers, journos and editors. Follow them on social media, engage with their posts, comment on recent stories they’ve reported. By doing so, you’re building up a connection with them which will make your getting your email opened all the more successful because of this interaction. It also helps to ensure that you’re pitching a story that is relevant to their area (see point A).
C. Angles – different stories for different media.
Consider this scenario: A business has a major product announcement. They could send out a media release to countless journalists who may or may not consider the annoucement newsworthy.
They could identify media contacts, research the outlet and send individual stories to those contacts. Each email should be targeted to the media outlet or editor with a specific angle. The business media get the business angle, the tech media would get the tech impact the announcement will have, trade media gets the angle on how the product will impact the industry, the consumer media receives the story about how this announcement will impact consumer’s day to day use of the product while local media could receive a pitch on how the factory will be looking to engage the local community with the project.
Sending a media release out to countless media contacts isn’t going to get you much traction. Sending out personalised emails with a media release is a better step, but pitching a story to one media outlet at a time delivers the best results.
So what’s a pitch? Following on from point C. on Angles, a pitch is not the media release. It may contain aspects of the media release but it is simply proposing a story to the media outlet. A pitch must be personal, must offer a quick insight into why the story is important, an appropriate angle, why the news matters, what benefit the outlet would have in such a story and offer exclusiveness to the outlet.