5 Quick Changes To Ensure Journalists Open Your Emails
You’ve put countless hours into creating the best possible story before you send it out to press. While your story should be able to speak for itself, there’s no guarantee of that it will even be seen with journalists receiving hundreds of pitches a day.
By following the steps below, we’ve been able to build relationships with numerous journalists and achieve coverage for clients on all of the national publications.
#1: Build a solid, relevant distribution list
Who you send your press release to is vital.
Some people opt for a ‘spray and pray’ approach, sending their content to hundreds of news outlets and hoping it gets picked up. This might result in a few pieces of coverage but also runs the risk of annoying journalists and permanently closing the door on potential link opportunities in the future.
Finding the relevant contact at a newspaper, magazine or website is important not just because it will increase your chances of being published, it will also help you maintain good relationships with the journalists.
If you’re sending a technology story to the beauty and fashion editor, you risk your email being blacklisted.
At Custard, we tailor our media lists within an inch of their lives. For example, if our content is about UK TV habits, we pull together a list of the outlets we want to target and find the most appropriate reporter or editor at that outlet. In our example’s case, it would be the technology and or lifestyle contact.
Once you’ve found your ideal contact, take a look at the stories they’ve recently covered and cite one of them in your email to the journalist. This will show them you’ve taken the time and effort to find out why your story is relevant to them.
#2: Find out the best time to reach your targets
When distributing a press release, timing really is key.
Sending out a press release at 4:30pm, when the news for the day is winding down and journalists are thinking about their next topic is not going to deliver the best results.
We’ve found that journalists are most receptive between 9am and 12pm and between 2pm and 4pm. It’s best to avoid the lunch hours, as the chances of catching someone at their desk are slim.
Wherever possible, it’s always best to give the journalist a call first, see what your contact thinks of the story before clogging up their inbox. They get hundreds of unsolicited emails a day so make yourself stand out by introducing yourself and your content first.
The team at pr.co reviewed 50,000 press releases to determine when the best day to distribute your press release would be.
You can view the full infographic on PRdaily.com
#3: Keep your pitches short and sweet
You need to remember that journalists are extremely busy people.
Once you’ve got them on the phone, it’s best to give a pitch that’s short, to the point and includes all the vital information key to your story.
When on the phone, give the journalist your name and the company you’re calling about, then tell them the first two sentences (which should be the most important points of your story) as your pitch.
#PR Tip: Condense your story down to an elevator pitch and convince the journalist why it should matter to them
— Julia Kendrick (@JRKendrick) April 7, 2016
Make sure that you mention why you think this piece will be relevant to them specifically and which section of the magazine/newspaper/website that you envision your piece being published on.
#4: Make it easy for the journalists
As we mentioned before, journalists are busy people. They’re not going to read your three paragraph long essay on why they should feature your client’s new pet food. Make it as easy as possible for them to feature you.
Your email body should be two to three lines long and contain pretty much the same content as your pitch.
Always make sure to copy the body of the press release into your email, as spam filters and cautious journalists mean that attachments don’t always get opened.
Bonus tip: Include your contact details under your sign off, this way the journalist can find your number easily should they have any questions. It’s also good practice to include a link back to the company’s website so your contact can find out more information on the subject of the release.
#5: Determine the best method of visualising data
At Custard, we’re big believers that additional collateral goes a long way with news outlets.
When you’re writing your press release, think about how the stats would look in an infographic, or if your news hook could be explained in more detail in a video.
Giving journalists additional information in a digestible format means than they can offer their readers a little something extra.
So there are the five top tips we rely on when distributing our content. Next time you’re getting ready to unleash your news on the world, refer back to this blog and see if you’ve ticked all the boxes.
For more information on our media distribution services, take a look at our content amplification page which tells you all about our outreach capabilities.