Don’t pitch if it isn’t news

30349663 Everyone wants media coverage and gets frustrated when they don’t get it.  Reporters and editors aren’t ignoring your news releases – they’re just doing their job. 

If you help them do their job, they will help you do yours.

The media (of all kinds) gets bombarded with releases every day.  Think about some of the recent releases you’ve written.  Your business celebrates 25 years.  You won an industry award. Important to you?  You bet.

But remember, a journalist’s job is to report news that matters to their audience.

When you write a release, ask yourself a simple question.  "So what?" And be honest. Why would this matter to someone outside our organization?  If the answer is that it doesn’t, you need to find a way to make it relevant to them.

For example, let’s say you own an art store and are offering a pottery class.  By itself, it’s not all that newsworthy, except perhaps in the community listings.

What if you did some research and found that 43% of all American adults claim that one of their hobbies is some form of art.  You dig a little deeper and find some statistics about art therapy and stress reduction.  Now you have something to offer.  Your class listings can be a part of a bigger story about reducing stress through art therapy or how art is the nation’s fastest growing hobby.

One of the basic rules of writing marketing pieces is remember your audience.  In the case of an effective news release you need to double that effort.  Not only do you need to remember the reporter but you also need to think about the reporter’s audience and what matters to them. 

Check out this post on Do’s and Don’t written by a reporter.  Words to the wise for sure!

7 comments on “Don’t pitch if it isn’t news

  1. Dan Schawbel says:

    Great writing as well. This is especially important because if it’s not “news” then it doesn’t get prioritized. This has happened to me many times.

  2. David Reich says:

    Great advice, Drew.

  3. Meg Guiseppi says:

    Thanks, Drew, for reminding me it’s time to send out another press release.

    I can confirm from experience, once I started including useful information or advice in my press releases, that they almost always got picked up right away.

  4. Mark True says:

    Drew:

    Good point, and you hinted at another key: know your publication. Sometimes, your story is great for the community listings, or the people section of a trade magazine or the new products section. Not everything is a feature story!

    -Mark

  5. Dan,

    Excellent addition. Thank you!

    Drew

  6. Meg,

    Glad to be your nudge! Sounds like you have discovered the secret to pitching stories…be helpful, relevant and give the reporter enough meat so he/she can write a great story.

    Drew

  7. Mark,

    Ahhh, good add on. Being realistic about how great (or not) your news is and where it belongs in terms of placement and weight earns you a heap of respect from the journalists who get pitched every day.

    Thanks for that thought!

    Drew

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