The answer to your query on ‘how to get a press release picked up’ can be answered in two parts.
Part I of how to get a press release picked up
Be clear on how a Press Release is written
Press releases are newsworthy information and should have 5 basic pointers-
- Clarity on the objective of writing
- Answering the 5 W’s- What, Why, When, Where and Who
- Good formatting
- Good language and grammar
- Apt title
Writing a press release well calls for a lot of skill and practice. So if you have not written a press release before, it is advisable you consider hiring a professional writer or agency to do so.
Unlike blog posts or any content your business publishes online, PR has a predefined format that needs to be followed. The ideal length of a PR is about 300-400 words. That’s about 3-4 short paragraphs.
Editors are a stringent bunch of people. They expect your PR to be in perfect English and inapt style. Any grammar mistake/ spelling mistake or not up to the mark editing can land your press release directly into the rejected lot.
Part II of how to get a press release picked up
Now that you have created the best possible press release, the next important step in the press release process is to opt for a reputed distribution channel.
These distribution tips augment the chances of your PR to be picked up-
- Apart from sending your PR to popular industries and websites and local media, also send them to bloggers and influencers.
- Ensure the distribution service you opt for, targets your specific audience. Mass distribution of PR without targeting the right kind of audience is like putting all efforts down the drain. For example, when you’re targeting a local audience, going for a distribution service that can cover local radio, local media, regional dailies or magazines is the right thing to do.
- Add a video. It boosts the chances of coverage multi-fold.
- Sending your PR to a journalist directly is better than sending it to a generic email [email protected] You need to convince the journalist that your PR would be of value to their audience. If convinced he would be more than happy to cover your story. Let’s explain this with an example. Your business is opening a new store in the city. Instead of emailing your PR to a generic email of a local newspaper, email it to the journalist who covers the ‘local news’ segment. (Digital tools like LinkedIn or Hunter can help you source the contact information). This works out to be more effective and responsive.
- Timing of when to send press release also is something to plan for! Generally, Wednesdays and Fridays are very busy days, so sending a PR on these days could mean it could remain unread in the inbox! Thursday is a good day to send in your PR. Another thing that matters is to send in the PR 3-5 days in advance of the day you wish it to be published. This gives the journalists time to craft their stories or get back to you with any queries they might have.
- After your PR is released, do a follow up on social media. When it is about social media, adding a video or image and a short description about the release along with the actual PR helps. Also, don’t forget to add the hashtag #pressrelease to your post to make it easily discoverable by journalists. You could even place links about key placements of your PR.
Just as you as a business want your PR published, even journalists are looking for publishable information. So the easiest way to get a PR picked up is by showing the journalist how your information would prove to be valuable for their customer base. But before you can do this you would have to study and understand the publication’s audience. If both your audiences match, it’s a win-win situation for both of you.
Usually, publications do put up a description of their audiences on their website.
With this information in your hand, it becomes easier to convince the journalist how your news could be valuable to him and his audience.
- It works well for a business to follow up with a journalist after 3 days of sending your PR. Let the tone be of a courtesy outreach email reminding them about you and your prior email.
It is good courtesy to send in thank you notes to a journalist once your PR is published. It would also set in a good cord for the future. If your PR distribution strategy makes the journalists’ jobs easier they are likely to publish it which in turn helps you to gain more traction and answers your ultimate query of every business- how to get press coverage!
So if you wish to improve your chances of your PR getting picked up, you need to
- Get it written well,
- Choose the right distribution service
- Target your release well
- And continue to promote your PR even after distribution.
When you wish to send out a journalist-ready press release and desire an impactful distribution strategy, consider Towards90 so that you can be sure of it to be published!
How Do I Get My Press Release Noticed?
A very significant number of businesses struggle as they send out their press releases to dozens of media outlets but fail to get a single response.
Journalists are bombarded with hundreds of press releases each day. So only if yours’ has the factor to stand out of the bulk, it would be able to catch their attention. Read along as we unbox 7 elements having the power to hold the attention of the busiest of the busy journalists!
An eye-catching headline
That’s your first impression. It’s worth taking added efforts to make it as perfect as you can. The headline needs to be engaging enough to stand out of the crowd and tempt the journalist to read down further.
Take no more than 6-7 words to summarize the crux of your press release in it. Ensure it is direct, comprehensive and has action words in it. Present it in large bold fonts.
To the point
Short and crisp are the two prime descriptions a PR should fit into. A PR is not a blog. So don’t be elaborate. The best thing to do is spill out the most relevant detail in the first few sentences. Saving up the purpose of a PR, for later makes the chances of a reader never getting there extremely high!
Don’t send too many
One key for a press release being picked up also has to do with the reputation of your business. Sending 2-3 PR’s a week is called spamming. It is not possible for any organization to truly have newsworthy content multiple times a month. Not even biggies like Walmart or Apple. Sending content that is not ‘news’ on a regular basis is more than likely to get them to begin ignoring you!
As a business, you need to ensure your press release is content that media houses think worthy to pass on to viewers or readers! As a business ensure you get an affirmative answer to the following questions-
- Will anyone outside my organization care about this information?
- Is it interesting and relevant to the target audience?
Sending out many ‘not newsworthy’ content leads to a loss in credibility with journalists.
Only when a story is relevant to a journalist, is he likely to pick it up. A journalist who is basically a financial segment writer is not likely to show interest in the latest gadget your company has launched.
Also the media landscape is ever changing, with a high attrition rate. So having a database of which journalist is working where helps. Seeking help from professionals who specialise in journalist databases ensure you to hit the targeted group better!
Quotes from noteworthy people add a personal touch and credibility and have the power to engross readers. But it’s vital to ensure the quotes are relevant to the topic of the PR.
The distribution task doesn’t end after sending out your PR to 100 different journalists. You need to learn how to follow up on a press release. Reaching out to the most likely journalists or influencers is worth the effort. Send out a mail with a short summary and your PR in the body of the letter. You could also add images or video links here. But ensure you don’t send bulky attachments as they are likely to end up in the spam box!
Keeping the above pointers in mind is the best answer to the query every business has today on how to get a press release picked up by top media outlets. A PR well done is one of the strongest ways to attract media attention.
Tips On How To Pitch A Press Release Via Email
The subject line has the power to decide if the journalist would open your email or trash it. Yes, the subject line is that important. So make it catchy, yet straightforward.
Simply using the title of your press release as the email subject line won’t get you far.
The subject line should
- Have the crux of the PR
- Be interesting
- Be less than 12 words
Definitely no attachments
The cyber-world brings with it cyber hacks and viruses. And attachments could be a major source of them. So it is extremely rare for anyone to open an attachment from an unknown source.
Always put your PR in the body of the email. This way the recipient has all pertinent information in one place.
Make it look like you are sending an email to that one journalist alone, and not a copy-pasted mass email. Avoid the usage of BCC. Journalists are most likely not willing to write about the same news which has been sent to a huge list.
A simple ‘Hi, ABC’ does the trick. And mail merging feature in MS word can do it for you!
Now that your email has the attention of the journalist, give a good introduction.
Journalists are bombarded with loads of pitches every single day. To ensure yours stands out, make a connection with them.
Compliment them on a recent good publication or about their good work or tell them why you trust ‘them’ to distribute your PR.
This ensures you now have his full attention.
Body of the email
Before you begin your PR, write a concise line or two to connect the email introduction with your PR.
Suppose your congratulated the journalist on a recent publication about the food industry, and your product is a new revolutionary food ingredient, you could mention
-’Since you have an interest in the food industry, you would be glad to know about our new findings.’
Now you may copy-paste your PR.
Simple yet professional closing
After the boilerplate copy of your PR, give your contact information in case the journalist wishes to reach out to you for any clarifications.
Now that we have discussed how to pitch a press release via email, lets us take you through 3 other things emailing a press release etiquette is about-
- Respectful and considerate – If journalists have requested to opt-out of your email lists, please do so. This way not only will you not spam someone, but you also ensure your email lists are up-to-date and reach the right people.
- Targeting – Ensure your emails target the right people. Sending information about your gardening company to an investment specialist journalist makes no sense! Targeting a smaller group of apt journalists is way better than targeting dozens and dozens of wrong ones.
- Professional language – Ensure that your language stays strictly professional all through the email. You cannot begin with a ‘Yo’ or end with a ‘Cheers’.
From The Experts
Public perception plays a vital role in making or breaking a small/ medium-sized business. A press release is an excellent medium for any business to put their story in front of the world. A press release can
- Expand your reach
- Support the search engine optimization efforts
- Create a bond with your clients
- Put vital information about your business in front of the world
In short, they can play a major role in business expansion. When done well, they have the power to bring in a lot of revenue with almost minimal investment.
But writing and distributing your press release is a skill that calls for a lot of expertise. They have a formulaic structure and aim at getting a company’s message across in a crisp, clear, concise, and effective way. In short, writing a Press Release is tricky. It is in the best interest to leave it to experts and not risk the image of your business.
Investing in a public relations consultation to create and distribute your PR is a deal worth it. More than often an outside professional can do a better job than you as a business insider can do. Outsource the press release process needs of your business to Towards90, your very own and trusted content marketing partner.