5 Ways to Guarantee Journalists Ignore your Press ReleaseJune 1st, 2012 in Blog Posts
With the advent of online news and 24-hour rolling television news, it is harder than ever to grab the attention of a journalist.
Ironically, the 24-hour news craze means that journalists now need more stories than ever. This creates a confusing paradox for small businesses, authors and sole traders – who may be operating with a small PR budget.
So, to offer our help, here is a handy guide to achieving the useless. Five Ways to Guarantee Journalists Ignore your Press Release.
1. Inlcude a tpyo. Don’t worry, that was deliberate! Put it this way, journalists are masters of language. One small error, typo or grammatical hitch can quickly ignite the fire inside of a journalist’s lair and spark a disaster for you. So long, farewell, arrivederci and hello garbage can. The journalist sees it this way – if you can’t be bothered to spell check your work or conform to the rules of the English language, how can they be sure any of the actual facts within your release are correct too?
2. Send it to their personal, non-work email. Just like those sales calls you get while at the dinner table – no journalist likes to be contacted away from their professional arena. If you want to appear even more creepy – hit them up on Facebook by searching for their name and send your press release to them as an internal message. Both of these methods are epic no-nos. You’ll need to target them via their preffered contact method – something which is often only shared with dedicated public and media relations companies.
3. Send an impersonal message. All press releases should be personally addressed to each journalist. This includes first and last names. Starting your cover message with Dear journalist or Hello just doesn’t cut the media mustard. Again, media relations companies have software that automatically personalizes each and every press release, even if it is being sent to thousands of people. You’ll thank them in the end.
4. Send them more than 500 words. A press release is a story pitch, not a pre-written article. Journalists are very friendly, but don’t need to know the intricate ins and outs of every last detail. Less is more. Copy should be short, succinct and answer the 5 main Ws (who, what, where, when and why). If the journalist needs more information, they will call you. We’d suggest getting a professional to write your release – they have likely written thousands of releases before and know exactly how to grab the media’s attention without boring them.
5. Leave out your contact information. Some people prefer to remain anonymous to the media. That decision is your right – but don’t expect the media to take you seriously. The media want to cover stories from credible sources. This always requires a full contact name, email address and cell phone number.
So, there it is. Of course, avoid all of the above like the new plague and you’re set for media success. Rather leave it to a professional? Click here to find out more.