This basically comes down to an exercise in empathy.
Put yourselves in a journalist’s place. Your email box is flooded. You’ve got the pressures of staying abreast of key players in your markets while having to absorb the importance of new products and companies.
Most importantly, you’ve got deadlines.
Which emails get opened first? What’s really newsworthy? Which pitch is worth following up?
These are the factors I consider when deciding “To Release or Not to Release,” whether someone’s “news” merits a press release. After all, what’s the first rule of public speaking? Consider your audience.
Journalists and leading bloggers are your initial audience, the gatekeepers who decide if your news lands in front of key industry players and qualified sales leads. Therefore, you really have to ask yourself if your news is really interesting enough and well presented to grab their attention.
For instance, it may be important to you that you’re going out on a fundraising tour or will be at a tech get-together touting 20 new companies, but the press may not share your joy - at least until you’ve become a familiar name by establishing yourself in the market via sales supported by a well-conceived, ongoing PR campaign.
Publicize your wins, releases of new products and versions, key partnerships…you know, news.
From my experience, it’s also important to note if you’re not generating enough news. It’s a warning sign that things may not be going in the right direction, and it’s time to examine what you’re doing and not doing. Also, many people don't realize that they're sitting on tons of useful data.
And once your news is out there, it’s pitch time…but only with a targeted list of journalists. Remember, many, if not most of them, prefer to be contacted only by email. Clients have to understand this. We’ve made thousands of placements and arranged countless interviews purely via email. The phone should be used but only with discretion. Highly selective targeting is the key for some persistent, lovingly performed professional nagging.
It’s also wise to remember that even journalists with whom we have a great relationship won’t accept every pitch. There’s no point in alienating a good contact by pushing too hard.
When we arrange your interviews, make sure you’ll actually be there. Don’t stand them up, and don’t reschedule more than once.
Journalists recognize this as a sign of disrespect for their time. Guess what’s going to happen to subsequent pitches. It ain’t gonna be pretty…especially if they were on deadline.
- Make sure your release is newsworthy
- Consider your audience
- Make it interesting!
- Respect the journalists’ time