How to pitch a press release to the media

Sarah Lee
0 minutes

So, you have written your press release and it has been signed off by everyone who needs to. Now, how do you get it to the media?

Here are a few simple steps to follow. And remember, don’t give up. Keep going until your press release is published.

Telephone your media contact. Don’t just email. Journalists get hundreds of press releases emailed to them every day. You need to make yourself seen and heard. The only way to do that is by telephone. Call each journalist on your media list at the start of the day. Start at 9 and keep calling until you get through.

“This is XXXX from XXXXXX — we have a news story out today. Do you have a couple of minutes?” Explain the story in less than 20 seconds. Write a script and practice it first with your friends or family. Not the people you work with. They know what you do. You need to explain it to people who have no idea what you do.

Send over the press release in the body of an email — do not send as an attachment. Just one more click to open an attachment and you risk losing a busy journalist who will move onto the next email.

Remove all formatting from the word document before you cut and paste into the email. You want to make it as easy as possible for the journalist to publish the story — no weird fonts or jazzy alignment they have to re-format.

At the top of your email put write Press Release and today’s date. Under that put the press release title. PingGo will do this automatically for you! Your mail subject line should have the press release title written in lower case. Don’t use capitals as it always looks a bit shouty.

Make sure you have your contact details at the bottom for the journalist to get in touch for more information or to arrange interviews. Again PingGo will do this automatically for you.

Follow up by telephone in the afternoon before 4 after which they may be on deadline. Did you get the press release? Can you use it? When will you publish? Do you have any questions? Would you like photography?

This is how you lock down coverage and make sure you get the hit!

Consider offering it as an exclusive to your most important media outlet. But if you do, DO NOT send it anywhere else until they have had time to use it.

Never send to multiple addresses or CC/BCC loads of journalists in. They want to feel they are the only one with the story. Never send it out the day after someone else has covered the story.

Of course you could always send the press release via PingGo so you can see when the journalist opens your press release and can message you back direct. But even if you do use PingGo to send the press release you should still telephone to make sure the journalist is looking out for the email arriving. It’s hard work getting earned editorial! You’ll need to work hard but if you stick to these rules — you will get press coverage.

Just keep going and never, ever give up!  Good luck!

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