Have you ever picked up the newspaper and wondered how a business received press coverage? Always felt like press was out of your scope? Good news: it’s not as hard as you may think! As long as you know how to tell your story and who to tell your story to, you’re on a path to publicity. Here are three simple steps and tips to get started.
1. Create your target media list
Before you begin reaching out to press, it’s important to build a targeted media list for more purposeful communications.
- Build a publication wish list. Include radio, television, newspaper, magazine, and blog publications you’d like to be in. Think about what your customers read or watch and make note of those.
- Build a list of reporters you find in those publications who are writing stories that are related to you.
- Make note of the angles and themes being discussed in those publications. This will help shape your release.
2. Tell your news story
- Evaluate your cause. What makes you different from the rest? Your answer will be your news hook.
- Write your press release in old school 5 W’s style, the who, what, when, where, and why, to cover all of your points.
- Support your story with specific, measurable facts to prove your point to make your press release stronger. Avoid generalities.
- Write a creative, newsworthy headline in eight words or less. This step is critical. If it’s not intriguing, they may never open the email in the first place!
3. Pitch your news story
- When you are ready to send your story, put your release in thebody of the email, not as an attachment. Many computers won’t allow attachments to be opened. We don’t want your efforts to be wasted!
- Send a short, personalized pitch letter to each journalist on your list with your press release.
- Schedule your press around other news worthy dates. Holidays are a great place to start.
- If possible, send your release in advance. The more time you give the reporter, the easier it will be to land the pitch.
- If you have a phone number, you may call the journalist the next day to see if they received your release and to answer any questions. If the journalist is not interested, politely thank them and hang up. If you do not have a phone number, folow up by email after a week or two.
- Avoid spamming. Press releases and press “pitches” need to be tailored to the specific reporter receiving them. Take the time.
Good luck and remember to be patient. It’s unlikely for a story to be placed on the same day you send the release. Sometimes they will use it when it fits into their schedule, but that could be months down the road. Lastly, remember to keep your relationships positive. A reporter might not pick up your story today, but they might in the future!
Looking for an example? Click here.
For additional help with PR and pitching, send our PR cognoscente, Barb Morgen, an email at: Barb@BrownPaperTickets.com, and she’ll be happy to help you!
In the Seattle area? Great news! Barb will be hosting a FREE PR workshop on how to get media to notice you on September 11th. Sign up here!