The inboxes of local reporters, editors and producers are overflowing with news releases and story pitches from businesses and organizations similar to yours. They want to be in the spotlight, too!
Newsrooms, however, receive far more story ideas and pitches than they can possibly publish or air. With the right approach, though, you can still get your news to stand out.
The most effective way to generate awareness is through a news release, which is an official company-issued statement or announcement provided directly to media. Journalists then will use that information to begin creating a story or script. Some publications will even publish news releases verbatim.
You may only have a matter of seconds to catch the eye of a journalist. In fact, a Public Relations Society of America article titled Gone in 60 seconds notes a survey showing 70% of journalists spend less than a minute reading a news release, and 45% of journalists said they received 50 or more news releases every week.
That’s why it is so important to create an exceptional news release that grabs attention.
The public relations team at Priority Marketing distributes dozens of news releases each month on behalf of our clients, and their news is published in newspapers, magazines, websites and social media, as well as broadcast on television and radio.
Here are our three steps to creating a news release that stands out:
Know What is Newsworthy
Journalists are trained to look for the “new” in news – new products or services, new locations, new developments in a previous story, new events, new laws and more. What is “new” about your news?
These are the five most common types of news release that interest media: upcoming events, product launches, new services, staff announcements and company achievements.
Always consider the reader or viewer perspective. It’s important to answer the question about why they should care or be interested, and explain the reason or impact in layman terms.
Draft an Eye-Catching News Release
Most news releases are sent via email, which offers the quickest, most direct route to a reporter or editor’s desk. Emailed releases need a catchy subject line that entices the recipient to opens the email, and the news release itself needs a clever headline followed by clear, concise and factual information.
Become familiar with the Associated Press Stylebook, an English grammar and usage guide adhered to by most American publications. Readability is critical when journalists are skimming a news release, so make sure to run a draft by a skilled proofreader to check for typos and style errors.
Also, include a high-resolution color photo as an attachment to accompany your news release. Newspaper and magazine pages rarely contain only text, and even TV stations will include an image or two on screen as anchors report the news.
Distribute to the Right Media
Study the local media scene to know what type of news each covers. A business magazine, for example, would be highly interested in a release about a new corporation relocating to the region, but likely would pass on news about a new family-friendly festival. On the other hand, a parenting publication would jump at the chance for a story about a new children’s event.
Many journalists also have specific reporting beats or topics of interest, so if your news release is about a new private school opening in the fall, identify the region’s education reporters and editors, and send releases directly to them.
Timing is everything. It’s best to distribute your news release earlier in the day, as well as earlier in the week, when newsroom personnel are evaluating potential stories.
Don’t be afraid to follow up if you haven’t received a reply. It’s possible that a journalist simply overlooked your email, or perhaps they have plans to write or produce a story in the future.
Do you want to turn on your brand through public relations? Give us a call today at 239-267-2638.