Sending a press release by email to a journalist may seem like a simple task, but so many people get it wrong and that’s why their press releases get ignored.🚫
Even if your proposal is the best fit for them, if you don’t structure your email in the right way this could ruin your chances of success. But don’t worry, the important thing to know about pitching is that it's actually very simple to do once you realise what not to do. 🥳
✏️What is a press release?
A press release is a story or idea sent by PR professionals, content creators, or small business owners to journalists in the hopes of getting their news published.
So in PR, a press release isn’t when a celebrity or public figure sits in front of cameras to release a statement to the press...
The most important thing to know about press releases is that you need to take time and put in the effort to successfully pitch to journalists. This is because, as Prowly finds:
'67% of journalists claim they receive irrelevant materials not in the area of their work or interest.'
👉Follow our important tips to ensure positive and successful communications with journalists.👈
✏️How to structure your email:
Start at the beginning – the subject line. It may seem too short to have any real impact in an inbox of thousands of emails, but as Criminally Prolific's blog states, you need to stand out in the right way.
After the appropriate and personal greeting (if you’ve done your research you should know their name, so use it) it's time to get to the content:
💭 Why you want to be featured specifically by them.
💭 What you have to offer.
💭 How they can contact you.
If you want to know more on how to write your press release, aim high and take a look at this advice from Forbes.
✏️The dos and don’ts of pitching:
❌ Make it all about you – instead, start the email discussing their previous content and why your press release would be of interest to their audience. Leave your bio and contact information at the end, as The Guardian suggests.
❌Use a template – this is risky if journalists see you’ve left [insert name here], or worse, used a generic email that can be sent to anyone. They will ignore your request and could send your future emails straight into the junk.
❌Use insincere greetings – again, this may seem banal, but if you write ‘I hope you’re well’ in every email, it just indicates that you have no real interest in knowing if they are actually well or not.
❌Add attachments – keep it simple, some journalists even request for there not to be an attachment when posting a request. Your pitch should be short enough to copy and paste which avoids the risks involved in downloading content from a stranger altogether.
✔️Use a chatty and informal style - a pitch is more like having a conversation with a friend than pitching an idea to a strange. This will help keep it concise and keep the reader interested. But don’t just take it from me, Janet Murray has some great advice and examples on her blog.
✔️Keep it concise – we have already established the necessary content so don’t make it harder for the journalist to get to the important part, you want to be friendly but you’re not trying to find someone to go for coffee with.
✔️Proof read – just because you send hundreds of emails weekly between you and your team and the odd spelling mistake slips through does not mean you should rush your press release. You have one chance to make a first impression, so make it count and don’t get put in the trash folder because of your grammar, because according to this post on LinkedIn, it could happen.
✔️Follow up with your pitch! – just because you don’t get a response the first time does not mean your press release has been read and rejected. Sometimes a helpful reminder is all it takes to get published. However, be sure to wait 3-5 days and don't be too pushy.
👉If you’re still feeling a little lost, we have a whole webinar that can guide you through the process.👈
Above all, just remember journalists are human. So if you communicate with them how we suggest at GuidedPR, you will get a response.
And remember, one successful pitch does not mean the relationship is over. If you don’t treat a journalist as a writing robot machine, then they might just come back for content in the future.🤞
Need help finding journalists to send your press release to? Look no further, at GuidedPR we use AI technology to connect entrepreneurs and the media, and all it takes is one click to get started!
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About the Author:
Kate is a Public Relations Assistant and Blog Copywriter Trainee at GuidedPR. She has recently graduated with a first class honours in a BA degree in English Literature and has a keen interest in online journalism. Kate is a creative at heart and wants to become a professional editor or marketing expert in the book publishing industry.
Find Kate on LinkedIn