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Press releases: The dos and don'ts of pitching

As PR professionals, there’s often nothing more agonising than crafting the perfect press release, sending it out to your list of media contacts and having it fall flat.

The reality is - your press release is only as good as your pitch. So, how do you get your pitch noticed? We’ve compiled some key dos and don’ts to help you on your way to securing that all-important media attention.

1.) DON’T: Send out a mass email

It’s no use sending off your pitch to any old news outlet and hoping for the best. What’s most important is targeting those that typically cover the topic, region or industry to which your press release is relevant. This will require some initial homework, but dedicating a good chunk of time to building up a list of relevant media contacts will prove very beneficial in the long run.

2.) DO: Pitch to the right journalists

If you’ve found a relevant news outlet, make sure to do some research on its journalists. Knowing their backgrounds and key topics they write about is important, so you know exactly who to target. A sports writer doesn’t want to receive a story about energy-saving solar panels.

If your story is a follow-up to something they’ve covered before, include a link to this in the email for added personalisation.

3.) DO: Build a rapport with journalists

This can be as simple as connecting with them on LinkedIn and interacting with their posts on a regular basis. That way, when your pitch lands in their inbox, they might recognise the sender and be more inclined to read it.

4.) DO: Write a compelling subject line

Journalists receive dozens of pitches a day (sometimes more), so it’s important yours catches the eye. This all starts with the subject line. It’s the first thing they’ll see, so make sure it’s both enticing and informative. Top tip – keep it under 10 words!

5.) DON’T: Write an overlong pitch

Like a film trailer – give the journalist an overview of the story while making them really keen for more. Or in this sense, keen to read your press release.

Keep it concise, ideally between 4-6 sentences, and use this space to include your who, what, when, and any other newsworthy details. Make sure to also finish with a call to action.

6.) DO: Prepare for business

There’s nothing worse than having a journalist with a deadline respond that they’re interested in covering your story and not having the materials or information they need to move forward. Make sure you have everything they might need ready to go, otherwise they will move on to the next one.

7.) DON’T: Follow up right away

Give the journalist some time to decide if they are interested in covering the story or not. We advise waiting a couple of days before sending a follow-up email.

At Petersens PR, we are experienced at pitching to journalists and getting them interested in our clients' stories. Our PR Manager, Darren Evans, is a former journalist, so he knows what they are looking for. So, if you're finding it tough to gain interest for your press release, why not get in touch with Petersens PR today and see how we can help?

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