Press release content tips and how to pitch a story idea

Compelling content and communications strategies

So, you think your business is pretty special? That you’ve done something worth sharing with the world?

Newsflash: you may be the only one who thinks so. Then again, maybe not.

The only way to know is to pitch your idea to a media outlet and to see whether they take the bait. But before you pick up the phone, be aware there is a fine art to successfully pitching a story. Before we get into our press release content tips and how to pitch a story, here are some questions you must first ask yourself:

  • Would anyone actually care about this piece of news?
  • Would you be interested in reading an article or seeing a news piece about something similar?

Ok, if you’ve answered yes to both of these questions, you may have something newsworthy to play with.

What makes a good news story?

It’s all about finding an angle that will interest an editor or news producer, and ultimately their readers or viewers. Is your business celebrating a special milestone? Is there a real human interest factor at play? Will a recent research and development finding have massive ramifications? Find an angle that will hook the person you pitch to.

Press release content tips: How to structure a press release

Press releases should be presented like a news article. Include all of the relevant details, but do not write an essay. A one-page summary of the key facts and figures is best.

Make sure you include the words ‘Press Release’, a snappy, attention-grabbing headline in bold font, the date and the city.

The press release must include all of the essential facts, including the who, what, when, where, why and how. Try to summarise the crux of the press release in the first sentence. Include your contact details and the word ENDS at the end of the release.

What not to do

Having worked as a journalist for almost a decade, I have heard my fair share of expletives directed at inefficient public relations professionals. If you want to gain exposure, here’s what NOT to do:

  • Waffle during the pitch. Journos are busy people, so the worst thing you can do is take 40 minutes to explain your “pot of gold”. Get to the point, fast.
  • Provide inaccurate information in the press release. There is nothing worse than finding out at the last minute the talent is not in fact a WWII concentration camp survivor, but rather a friend of that survivor. Triple check the facts before sending the release to an editor or journalist. And if it’s a community newspaper you are pitching to, ensure the story is geographically relevant.
  • Send through longwinded press releases. Editors just want the essentials. Keep press releases simple. If you are a business trying to pitch a story, speak to a professional about how best to convey your message. Ink Big Copywriting can help!
  • Fail to respond promptly. Journalists have ridiculous online and daily deadlines. Try to be prompt and helpful.
  • Provide dull photo options. A strong visual can work wonders for the placement of a news piece. Be creative when pitching photos or visuals to accompany stories.

Getting your head around how to structure and present a press release can be tricky, but Ink Big Copywriting are here to help. Ink Big Copywriting offer creative and original copywriting solutions for businesses, individuals and community groups. Based out of Melbourne, we create content such as blog posts, SEO-friendly website copy and articles for publication.

Ink Big Copywriting is located at 115 Bluff Road, Black Rock, Melbourne, Australia, 3193. (E) hello@inkbig.com.au. (P)hone +61 455 248 602. (W)ebsite http://inkbig.com.au/

Published: November 23, 2016

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