Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » What Journalists Really Want from Your Press Release

What Journalists Really Want from Your Press Release



I’m taking over the helm of a newspaper in my home town for the month of August. And this means I’m now in a position to decide which press releases are worth following up and which are not. I’ve written on Bloggertone in the past about what news is good to put in a presss release, but now I can show you how journalists handle your press release and how to get their attention.

When I arrive into the newspaper’s office this morning, my inbox will be stuffed with press releases. Any press releases with a factual subject like, close to what you’d actually use as a headline, will be opened. Press releases with a more promotional headline with words like ‘Offer,’ ‘fabulous’ and ’20% off,’ will be deleted or left unopened.

Don’t Blow Your Trumpet

Local media is still a powerful way to publicise yourself. People plug into it to see if they spot anyone they know. If you supply real news to local journalists, they’ll be grateful to have something solid to fill their outlet with. And you’ll achieve your goal of promoting your business. So everyone wins.

Journalists draw a firm line between advertising and news, even if they work for an advertising-driven freesheet like the one I’m in charge of. A lot of the time, they see what businesses send in as thinly veiled advertising. Journalists and editors are content creators, so what they’re interested in is content that will fill their paper or programme. Want to  get your emails opened? Give them content.

Here’s some of the content journalists will be interested in.

  • New businesses. Send them a pic of your launch. Let them know in advance that you’re opening. Tell them how your business will help the local economy.
  • Awards. Almost a cert to get you covered, but be sure to tell them as soon as you’ve been nominated to get the maximum exposure. Not a good idea to tell them about it after you’ve won, unless you’ve just won.
  • Projects and initiatives. I’ve received a release from one of my own clients, who’s launching a jobseeker’s scheme. I’ll be including it because it will have tangible benefits for people in the area. Charity events will also get a good response, particularly with a pic.

Here’s what they won’t click on. (Well, it’s not that they won’t click, but you need to be careful in your approach).

  • Offers and Competitions. This is essentially advertising. But if you have an unusual competition idea that captures the public imagination, journalists will certainly consider your press release.
  • Business Profile. Some media outlets do do them, but by and large, simply telling journalists you exist won’t be enough, even if your business is quite innovative. If you’ve been around a while, it’s not news any more.
  • Opinions and Advice. A lot of press releases offering opinions an axe to grind, or have little new to say. But if you’re a good trend spotter, or have insights that will be genuinely helpful to people, your press release will be considered.

Local media is still a powerful way to publicise yourself. People plug into it to see if they spot anyone they know. If you supply real news to local journalists, they’ll be grateful to have something solid to fill their outlet with. And you’ll achieve your goal of promoting your business. So everyone wins.

(pic : www.thenextweb.com)



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The Author:

Every business has a story. Your story helps your business stand out from the crowd. It's your story that customers ultimately buy into. I help businesses tell their story using a three-step process. Define the story: Identify what you do, how you do it and above all, why you do it? Refine the story: Decide who's interested in your story and where to spread the word. Deliver the story: through blogs, newsletters, mailshots, social media posts, press releases and brochures. http://www.writewordseditorial.ie

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Derbhile,u00a0 some great tps here! I think your point around trend spotting is well made, I’ve had a couple of bloggertone posts picked up on by the newspapers recently becuase they were topical.

  • http://www.garrendennylane.ie/blog Lorna

    Good tips here Derbhile esp regarding what doesn’t go down so well,

  • http://www.facebook.com/ennisoconnor Marie Ennis O’Connor

    Really useful article. It’s sou00a0important to know the right way to pitch a press release – journalists receive so many every day and most end up in the bin or email trash. There is an art to writing a good release, but once you;ve mastered that art, you stand a much better chance of having your story picked up.

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    nnWould it be fair to say writing content for a press releasenis not that dissimilar to blog content, in relation to holding back on the selfnpromotion? Some blogs outline problems and cite little but contacting the blognwriter / using their services as a solution. Opinions, advice and insight wouldnmake a press release more valuable. I guess subtlety takes practice! ThanksnDerbhile u2013 a useful insight. nnn

  • Derbhile

    Hi all, thanks. There’s an overlap with blogs, Helen, but for journalists you’re thinking inau00a0 more external way, about what makes news. And Niall, most of the media is run around comment now, so if you’ve got something useful to say, journalists will appreciate it.

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    Some great tips there Derbhile – adding value is a great tip – thanks – off to have a rethink now :)