Did you know that you’ve got about 5 seconds to impress a journalist with your press release and pitch?

In my 14 years as a journalist, I have received over 160,000 press releases into my inboxes.

Five seconds – that’s not much time, eh? It takes me about 5 seconds before I know it’s trash or treasure.

It’s a shame but did you know that many press releases never make it to print?

Many of the press releases I received went straight into the bin. Why?

Two reasons.

Too many PR companies apply a “pay and spray” method of media distribution and fail to understand the power of targeted angles.

Each publication has its own unique readership, style, tone and rounds (areas of interest that journalists cover).

First, many PR companies trolley out boring, bland, overtly commercially written press releases and then make the second mistake of sending it to the wrong journalists.

This is a fact and it happens in Northland ALL THE TIME!

I know! I deleted heaps of them while working as a business editor and chief reporter!

So, what should you send a newsroom?

1: First, know your key messages based on your objectives.
What you say in your press release should help you achieve an objective. (Common sense stuff, right?)

2: Decide where you want to send the release BEFORE you write it.
That way, you write the release for an intended audience. No point in sending a press release about a hair salon winning an award to a car magazine, right?

3: Make sure your angle is as newsworthy as you can make it.
Each publication has its own interests and likes stories on different topics. Some publications have editorial sections devoted to topics, while some are all general news. Write the press release for readers, not customers. Your press release must entertain, inform and educate. It might also inspire.

4: Ensure your key messages are communicated in an engaging way.

Use soundbites, analogies, humour (if appropriate) and other tools of the English language to make your story pop out of the page!
Whatever you do, avoid jargon. Nobody knows, or cares, about “vertical integration”, or “industrial symbiosis”. Spare them the pain of reading that!

5: Include a professionally taken (and relevant) profile photo of yourself.
Make sure you tell the story in the photo. Avoid sending a photo of yourself with a plain, boring background (or even trees in the background – unless the story is about tress).
A photo of you “on the job” is always best.

6: Be persistent in following up.
Paranoia often settles in after you’ve sent a press release if you have yet to hear back from the journalist. Just know that journalists get heaps of emails every day. They may have filed it away for use, or flagged it to get back to you later. They may have put it into the trash, for whatever reason. But the only way you’ll know is if you follow up. Leave it two days before calling them to ask, “Hey there, do you think it’s something you might use or follow up on?”
After all, journalists are in the business of writing stories, stories are currency. Sending them a press release is a good thing, they like press releases – so don’t stress that you’ll annoy them. You won’t – it’s their job!

Having a well-written and usable press release can mean the difference between a story being followed up and printed, or not!

A press release is not only a terrific way to help get your story print, but it’s also a great way to ensure that the new outlets truly understands your message – after all, you’ve written it.

While some news outlets use the press release word-for-word (and that’s super!), others will rewrite it, more will pull the live quotes from it and add to a bigger story and, yet others will simply read it as an invitation to interview.

So, press releases have lots of uses.

Most of all, they make it easy for a journalist to work with you on your story.

I’m offering press releases with media distribution for $450 (GST incl).

You will get an interview, a professionally crafted, 400-word press release and one proofing cycle (so you can check and change before it’s sent), as well as distribution to multiple, targeted outlets (depending on the content of the release).

Please note, Solas Media Solutions operates on a targeted pitching system – the outlets will be agreed by the client and Solas before the press release is written.

Get in touch with Christine today and bag yourself a winning press release.