It’s been a full 24 hours since you hit the send button on a press release that you’re pretty stoked about and yet crickets. …
Hello? Is anybody there?
Good news — the plethora of media outlets is no longer limited to print and broadcast. Social media, websites and online newsletters are additional platforms to amplify your message. Yet making your release stand out among an inbox full of unread mail takes some crafting.
Here are five ideas to help your press release get some love.
Take a targeted approach.
We’ll be blunt. Not everybody cares about news your CEO finds revolutionary. An entertainment reporter isn’t going to be jazzed about the new head of operations at your medical center. A Richmond-based magazine doesn’t care about your snazzy new shop opening in Gloucester. If your release isn’t reaching the right inboxes, it’s going to be ignored. Devote time to researching the publications and organizations you send to. If you are targeting your release to local TV stations, find the emails for the news director. Familiarize yourself with the types of stories each reporter covers by reviewing previous work.
But also: Build relationships with the reporters most interested in the news you distribute. Don’t only contact them when you want something. Follow select reporters on social channels and share or like their posts when relevant.
Say what need to say quickly.
Is the news hook up high or is your opening paragraph a bunch of rhetoric about your organization? Cut to the chase. Put the news value up high. Think local impact, and better yet, show local impact. Be as specific as possible; use real-life examples and actual statistics where applicable. Reporters are always seeking compelling stories that affect the community. Tailor the subject line to your audience and the audience of the publication. This might mean sending several different versions of the same release, each with a targeted subject line.
But also: Don’t toss in a bunch of quotes from multiple leaders at your company. One or two quotes work well; some publications will not use any quotes from a release. Avoid jargon, cliches and acronyms.
Make it easy.
Avoid sending your release as an attachment if possible as many reporters won’t go to the trouble of downloading it. Paste your release into the body of an email. You might want to include a personal note at the top of your email. By all means, do not require any sort of account registration to open your release.
But also: Don’t send your release as a PDF. Should an organization want to cut and paste some part of it, it cannot do so as easily if it’s a PDF.
Time and timing matter.
You know the adage about timing being everything? Don’t wait until the day of an event to send out a news release about it. It’s likely too late. Ideally, send out details the week before; you can follow up with a quick email the day before. Mornings are best for reaching media members. By afternoon many reporters are on deadline. Make sure you have the right people ready to respond to a reporter’s questions after you send out your release.
But also: As you develop relationships with media members, ask if they’re open to texts. That way you can them text both a head’s up on something coming and a nudge after it’s been sent.
Traditional media outlets are skeletal these days with furloughs an increasing reality. Often, there isn’t enough manpower to get to your story. That’s why it’s helpful for you to tell your own story by providing links to visuals and video if possible. It’s best if your photos can show the chronology of an event. Make sure they are high resolution. Include images of the face of your company and a logo. Send via a link with your release that does not take too long to download.
But also: Make sure you are available for any questions that are likely to arise. Always include a cell phone number and be responsive. Today’s 24/7 news cycle requires it.