How to Successfully Pitch your Press Release to the Media

press release promotion
Image by Boris Lechaftois / Flickr

So you have an awesome product release or event and a flawless press release to promote it. Where do you go from here?

The fact is that the place where most people fail in their press release process is with pitching. While press release distribution services can be effective, the best services that can provide the most visibility aren’t exactly ideal for an entrepreneur’s shoestring budget. With a few tips and a little bit of savvy, you don’t have to be a PR professional to get some successful media placements for your business. Here are a couple tips to help you make the most of your press release:

A little bit of research goes a long way

Thanks to the internet, you don’t have to rely on pricey subscriptions to media directories to get in touch with people who could be interested in your press release. Whether you want to get local or national media coverage, doing some basic initial research on news reporters can have big payoff.

Start with Google searches and site-wide searches on individual news media sites for articles that have a similar theme or topic of the press release you want to pitch. Once you find a couple related articles, make note of the news reporter who wrote it and one or two interesting points from the article. Many news sites will list a reporter directory with names, beats, and email address. If you can’t find a listed email address, however, you’re not out of luck. Social media can play a huge role in helping you get in touch with reporters to pitch your story to. Check Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn to see if there’s an opportunity to get in contact with them.

Keep your pitch short, customized, and creative

Now that you have a list of contacts and a way to get in touch with them, it’s time to start crafting your pitch. The most important thing to remember is that your initial contact with news reporters should be as short and concise as possible. If you send an email, never include your attached press release on first contact. Your initial pitch should be about one paragraph or two at the most. If you’re reaching out through social media, it will probably need to be even shorter.

When it comes to customization and creativity, this is when your research comes into play. If you’re sending an email, begin your pitch by mentioning that you read reporter’s previous article and bring up one or two points that stood out to you (put some thought into it!). Next, you’ll want to tie the main topic of your press release into how it relates to what they wrote in their previous article and why they might be interested in the information you have to offer. Finally, ask them if they’d be interested in your press release and give them a phone number to call if they are.

Follow Up

Reporters are constantly bombarded with press release and news tips. It’s pretty common to either get rejected or get no response at all from the majority of your contacts, so don’t get discouraged. If the newsworthiness of your press release is relevant for more than a week, it doesn’t hurt to politely follow up with reporters after a few days of making initial contact. Follow-up emails should likewise be concise and helpful.

Following those few simple tips can help increase your chances of getting media placement rather than just relying on distribution services. Do you have any other tips about pitching? Share them in the comments below!

About the Author: Erika Potter is the public relations specialist for Epic Marketing, a full-service marketing agency in Salt Lake City. When she’s not working or freelance writing, Erika enjoys traveling and cooking gourmet food.