The boilerplate for a press release is the generic ‘about us’ copy, which explains exactly what the company does. This is often taken from the company’s website.
10. Contact details
Part 2 – How to pitch a press release (and boost your chances of getting it published)
Now you know when and how to write a press release, the next step is sending it to journalists, bloggers, and influencers. This is known as outreach within the PR world and here’s everything you need to know to get press coverage.
What’s the targeting approach
Are you after quality or quantity? This is the first question you need to ask yourself, as this will determine your targeting approach.
If your aim is to try and get the press release picked up by a major publication, then offer them an exclusive first as this will increase your chances of it getting picked up.
If you’re offering an exclusive, clearly mark this at the start of the email subject line and include the journalist’s name, to grab their attention:
Exclusive for [Journalist’s name] – [Title of press release]
Then make it clear in the email exactly how long they have to pick up the story. 48 hours is normal, with a chaser sent after 24 hours. If you don’t hear anything, reach out to another journalist at a different publication. Try 3 or 4 journalists, one after the other, when trying to place an exclusive with a major publication.
Always stick to your word and never offer an exclusive to more one journalist at a time.
Or if you’re just looking for as much coverage as possible, then send it out to your targeted publications, blogs, and influencers all at once.
Where to send press releases
There are two main avenues when it comes to sending out a press release. Self-publishing it onto a newswire service, or sending it directly to journalists, bloggers and influencers:
- Submitting a press release onto a distribution service
There are both free and paid-for press release submission and distribution services you can use. Once you’ve submitted your press release onto these platforms, publications can either republish them “as is”, or journalists can pick them up and write them up as articles.
- Sending a press release directly to journalists, bloggers, and influencers via email
This takes slightly more effort but is often a more effective way of getting press coverage. It’s better to focus your attention on a smaller amount of journalists or bloggers that report on your industry, than less targeted pitches to more people. This is especially the case if you’re a startup.
How to find journalist contact details
Once you’ve got your list of publications and blogs to target, research the journalists or bloggers writing for each of them who publish articles relevant to your press release. First off, check their profile page on the publication’s site and their Twitter page, as you might be able to find their email address there.
If you still can’t find the email address of the journalist you want to reach out to, check out our blog about the best tools for finding journalists contact details.
It provides the best tips on finding journalists’ emails and creating your own media contact database.
As a last resort, most publications will have a submission form on their website or a general email address. But we find this method to be the least effective.
How to write a pitch email
This is often the most overlooked part, but it’s actually the most important. Most journalists receive hundreds of emails a day, so if you write a poor email pitch it’ll most likely get deleted without them even bothering to read the press release.
So keep it snappy, concise, and on point. And whatever you do, don’t be too salesy or promotional. Here’s how to structure the pitch when you send a press release via email:
- Email Subject: State your release intention (e.g. “Immediate release” or “Exclusive”) followed by the journalist’s name, then an intriguing title based on the press release title
- The Opener: 3 to 4 lines introducing the company and an overview of the announcement. Include hyperlinks to the company website.
- The Angle: 3 to 4 bullet points explaining why this is interesting. Provide social proof (with hyperlinks) to sources that support your angle, such as data points that highlight a problem this announcement will help to solve.
- The Wrap-up: Offer to answer any questions and state that “I’ve included the full press in this email”
You can either attach the press release to the email or copy-and-paste it underneath your sign off, within the body of the email.
Dear [JOURNALIST NAME]I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep this brief. AI For Everyone, an award-winning and VC backed global data management tech startup, is launching the first-ever white-label data science platform to help businesses build scalable and cost-effective AI solutions.
I thought this would be of interest to you, as you’ve recently written a number of stories about the data science industry and startups. Here are the key points of AI For Everyone’s new platform:
- This cost-effective service is available to companies of all sizes, which will help unlock and democratize access to AI, to enterprises who were previously locked out from this technology due to the high price of entry
- The Global Data Science Platform is growing rapidly, with last year’s growth rate running at 40%, and the estimated market value now stands at $500 billion. This new platform is poised to leverage this.
- AI For Everyone has been built around the philosophy of open data for everyone and this announcement marks an important step towards their goal of harnessing the power of data to improve businesses and society.
Attached is the full press release. If you would like any more information or to speak to the team directly, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I know you must be busy, so I will follow up with you in case you missed this.
All the best
What is the best time to send a press release
The news cycle has changed dramatically over the last few years, but most journalists (especially those handling press releases) still work something similar to a Monday to Friday.
So it’s best to send a press release out at the start of the week, either Monday or Tuesday morning.
Never send out a press release on a Friday or the day before a public holiday.
Also, avoid sending it just before the hour, send it a few minutes after, as publications that publish press releases “as is” will normally publish on the hour.
Here are a few pieces of etiquette to keep in mind when you send out the pitches, so you don’t accidentally annoy any journalists.
It’s common practice to send an “embargoed” pitch out, ahead of your planned announcement date. This gives journalists plenty of time to write it up before the date you make the announcement public. If you do this, clearly mark the email as embargoed in the subject and first line, and state the date you’re going to publicly announce this.
If you don’t send an embargoed version out, send the press release to journalists before you publish it on your own site or social channels. If you’ve already put the news out there, journalists will be less keen to publish it as a story.
Don’t send it to multiple reporters at the same publication. This doesn’t increase your chances. In fact, it lowers them, as this is known to really annoy journalists.
If you haven’t heard anything after 3 or 4 days, then there’s no harm in sending a chaser. But take a common-sense approach to this. Just send one chaser, and make it brief and friendly. Never hound a journalist, as your emails will probably end up getting blocked.
In what format are press releases published?
One of two ways; they are either published “as is” (where the entire press release is copied and pasted) or it’s written up by journalists into an article.
Part 3 – How to build on the success of a press release
So you’ve written your press release, pitched it to journalists and bloggers, and won some press coverage. Great job!
But don’t stop there. You should now run a victory lap, to capitalize on this as much as possible.
Start with your own channels:
- Tell your staff first. This is overlooked way too often, but your staff should be the first to know about any announcements. It’s great for morale and they’re fantastic brand ambassadors.
- Publish a blog post, but provide even more value than what was included in the press release. Include images, infographics, videos and CTAs.
- Put the news out on your social channels. Include infographics or other multimedia.
- Tell your clients, partners or customers. If it’s a big announcement, send a personal email to each of your clients or partners, and include it in your next newsletter.
- Featured in a major publication? Shout about this so everyone can hear. Include the publication’s logo on your homepage, under a “featured in” banner, then talk about this in any outbound marketing such as upcoming newsletters.
Then nurture and build on any replies you had from journalists:
- If a journalist wrote up your press release into an article, send them a brief thank you email. This is a nice way to start building a relationship. They may use you as a source, for an expert comment or offer you a guest article spot in the future.
- Keep a list of the publications and journalists that featured your press release, so you know where to focus your efforts for future media pitches.
Now go write that killer press release and grow your media exposure
Now you’ve read this guide, you know everything there is to know about writing and pitching a press release.
We’ve also made the next step super easy for you with our free Startup Press Release Toolkit. The toolkit has everything you need, to quickly and easily write professional standard press releases and email pitches:
- 10 real-world press release samples, including startup and tech company launches, funding and events
- Editable press release and email pitch Word doc templates
- Press release media coverage metrics tracker Excel doc
These press release templates and tips made by our digital PR experts are proven to work and will help your startup to stand out from the crowd. However, if the press release writing and outreach process feels too time-consuming and difficult to handle on your own, you can always reach out to our Tech PR Specialists for advice.
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