1. Create An Engaging Headline.
Rather than a typical headline…
Widget Inc. To Open In St. Louis…try…
Widget Inc. To Employ 1,000 Add $2 million To Local Economy With New St. Louis Store.
Why? Reporters get dozens if not hundreds of email pitches per day. You have about 10 seconds of a reporter’s time to scan your pitch and decide if it is worth a closer look. A captivating headline can help it stand out amidst the clutter. Which reporter would not be intrigued enough to cover a story like this that adds greatly to the local economy? Even if your release is about a small store with 20 employees think of the benefits it brings to the community and get them into the headline.
2. Target The Right Publications.
A press release that may be a good fit for a business journal or daily newspaper may not work with a local lifestyle publication, fashion heavy magazine or suburban newspaper. Spend some time researching different publications to see what they like to run and how your idea or pitch could fit in.
3. Target The Right Reporters.
Each daily newspaper or business journal has individual reporters responsible for specific areas of interest or “beats”. One may cover retail while another could cover architecture and construction. Locate and target the reporter who covers your business sector before you blindly send out press releases to a news desk.
4. Follow-up With A Phone Call.
Since reporters get the deluge of emails described above, in most cases you should follow-up your mailing with a phone call. A phone call will verify they received your release and will enable you to start a conversation about the importance of your information to the publication’s audience. It also ensures that your release will get through all the filters and firewalls many publications have put in place. Though some news people may frown on this tactic, in a number of cases, as a St. Louis Public Relations Agency, we have had to email a good story idea two or three times before a reporter actually receives it and starts writing about it.
5. Attach A Photo Or Video.
Now that nearly every publication, radio station, and TV station is a multimedia publisher it helps to enclose a photo and/or video along with your release. Even if the reporter does not use these materials they can add clarity to your story pitch and greatly improve the odds that your email will be seen, read, and acted upon.