As public relations professionals, we have mastered the art of crafting a perfect press release. We know exactly how to create that eye-catching headline, secure the most interesting quotes from a spokesperson and know what is considered “newsworthy”.
So, why do we sometimes fail to get any coverage? The key is a good pitch.
As Meltwater highlights, “a press release is only as good as its pitch”, and it’s true! With journalists getting hundreds of pitches a day, our job as a PR professional is to create a pitch that merits the media reading the press release attached.
Here are a few golden rules for writing the perfect pitch:
- Choose a target
Build your target media list by researching what type of content they normally write about and consider whether this media outlet would be interested in a story. There is no use sending a press release to every media outlet under the sun as it will show journalists that you don’t know much about their individual publication and securing coverage will be very hard.
- Get to the point
No one likes reading long winded emails, so why make your pitch three paragraphs long? Keep your pitch short and simple by including the gist of what your press release is about in a sentence or two.
- Compelling subject line
You could write the most incredible pitch but journalists probably won’t open it if you don’t have an enticing subject line.
Meltwater gives some good tips on what not to do and a key one is not to begin your subject line with “press release” or “pitch”. Your pitch needs to stand out, not just be another “story idea”.
Make sure your subject line is short, about five to seven words, is compelling and highlights the most important or unique part of your story.
- Make it personal
Even though you may have a basic pitch structure, subject line and you’ve referred to their previous work, you still need personalise it. The easiest way to make a press release personal is by using their first name (and spelling it correctly).
When you have an understanding of what the journalist writes about and the tone of a certain publication, you’ll be able to clearly pitch to them why your press release is going to be useful to them.
Also, ensure you include your direct contact details. Whether it’s an email, a phone number, or both, make sure you are easily accessible to field any queries or requests for interviews.
- Pitch a story, not your company
As Forbes points out, journalists aren’t interested in your company or the product itself as it isn’t considered an interesting topic. Your story needs to be part of a broader concept and highlight a need or a message that will engage people. Considering this, in your pitch, don’t make it all about the company or product you are trying to sell. Sell the story by highlighting the key messages and include a wow factor that will entice people to read it.
Now you’ve got some core strategies, so hit send! Press releases can sometimes be hit or miss and at the end of the day, it is up to the journalist whether they publish it.
Need some PR help? Get in touch with VO today!
The content in this blog has been derived from the number of sources listed below.
VO Group does not take ownership of the content.
Read more about how to pitch the perfect press release: