Five Tips for News Releases that Get Noticed

I am no longer a daily news reporter, but you’d never know it from my email inboxes. I get dozens of news releases every day from groups pitching story ideas. Some are well written, others not. But most have little to do with the topics I would even have covered, which brings me to my first point:

  1. If you’re going to contact reporters, do some research first and send the info to those who might actually have some use for it. Casting a wider net – or worse, sending the same release two or three times in a week – is just a turnoff to a busy newsperson.
  2. Try for a tone that’s friendly but professional. I realize communication in general has become more casual but, “Hey Chris – how’s it going?” (We’re not pals. Delete.) “Hey There!” (Delete.) “So excited to hear your thoughts about this idea!” (Delete.) If it’s a solid news pitch, you won’t need to butter up the recipient or even follow up with a phone call.
  3. Keep it short. Work to perfect the three-paragraph pitch: the topic, why it’s important and why you’ve got just the right people to be interviewed about it.
  4. If you must quote a company executive, make the quotes short and, most of all, make them sound like something a human would say. Cut the corporate-speak.
  5. Better yet, let me write it and you won’t have to sweat the details – about what makes an idea newsworthy, or how to pitch it and to whom.