Do you have a new product coming out, a white paper or you’re going to celebrate your 10th year anniversary in the business? There is no better way to celebrate and let the people know but a press release.
A press release is a written newsworthy document about a business. The goal is to spread the news by earning publicity.
If you have a story to be written and disseminated, you can either use a press release service or pitch to a journalist. But what is the difference between the two?
It is a platform that is either free or paid and distributes news to its sites and networks of media outlets and online locations. A subscribing journalist receives the news through the RSS Newsfeeds.
Pitching is the manner of sending a pitch to the media. You reach out to a reporter directly with a pitch with the intention that they will have the interest to cover your story.
A pitch has a newsworthy idea or angle, supported by data and sources. It is a concise statement that comes with a short sentence about your business, a link to multimedia assets, and other supporting materials.
These terms may confused clients because they aren’t aware of what these terms mean. In public relations, it is important for business owners to know their differences and how it works.
Pitching is done through email or telephone conversation. It is suggested that there must be a follow-up.
The pitch must answer who the person is, what product or service is involved, where to obtain the information, and why readers should care about it. You must reason out why the reporter must consider your story or why it is relevant to their beat.
The pitch is shorter than a release. It is also informal compared to a formal release. The more you can personalize your pitch, the better.
It means that you have exerted effort to know the reporter more. When you show that you know their most recent article, or you can spell their name right, it shows that you are interested in what they do.
They can sense that you have an interest when you know more information about them. First impression last. They are impressed with PR professionals or marketers who can personalize a pitch.
Journalists receive hundreds of pitches on a daily basis. Without personalization, it is impossible for you to make the cut.
You need to make your pitch stand out. It must have the “it” factor to make the journalist want to contact you for coverage.
For easier understanding, just imagine that a pitch is a “cover letter” while a press release is the “resume.” When reaching out to the media, the release is copy-pasted to the space below the pitch.
When you pitch to the press, you can offer an exclusive to increase the odds of getting coverage. When you say exclusive, the story is not available to other media outlets or journalists to cover.
There is a certain date when the story needs to be published. The date must be strictly followed. You can’t publish it sooner or later than the expected date. Prior to pitching, you need to do some research first in order to boost the odds of getting media coverage.
For instance, what group of audience do you want to reach? Working bachelors, housewives, or single mothers? Do you want to reach a specific industry? People, who are interested in technology, fashion, or agriculture?
Do you want to reach the local or national market? When you know who you want to reach, you also know the reporter to target. You can pitch to reporters who have access to your audience.
When you truly understand your business, you can craft a great pitch. It’s because you can create a story that would interest your audience.
If you understand your business well, you are showing that you are expert on your own. People trust expert brands. The more likely that your campaign will succeed.
Research is part of the PR campaign. Without it, it is impossible for you to craft an effective pitch.
If you sent a generic pitch, journalists are more likely to ignore it not just now but your pitches in the future. Generic pitches don’t work.
You need to create a pitch that works for each journalist. What works for journalist A will not work for journalist B.
When pitching, ensure that it is newsworthy and unique. Make sure that it has a new angle.
For example, “The Man Bites the Dog,” is a concrete example of a newsworthy story. “The Dog Bites the Man,” isn’t because people already know this fact. Sharing a story with a unique angle is more compelling for the readers.
Pitches must be kept short and still interesting for the readers to engage. As mentioned, a pitch is shorter than a press release. It contains just the key message of the content, and why it can help the best of the journalist.
When writing the pitch, make sure that you emphasize the value to the readers. Make it short by using a bullet list. Copy paste the release. Do no use attachments.
The headline of your pitch must be attention-grabbing. Just like the subject line, the headline is another crucial part of the pitch.
It can make or break your opportunity to earn media coverage. Keep the headline short and sweet. It must contain keywords in the first three words.
Ideally, it must be between 65 and 80 characters only. Make it compelling by adding numbers or stats. Use the active voice.
Unlike when you use a wire service, you don’t necessarily need to build relationships with relevant media. However, when you directly pitch, you must establish rapport and relationships with them.
Interact with them on social media. Like, share, or comment on their posts.
It’s important that you meet them personally. Send them product samples, or help them by pitching story ideas from time to time. When they see your brand often, they get familiar with you. One day, they will just return those favor.
You must research or ask people who have worked with a particular wire service about their service. We need to know if you’re dealing with an effective and trustworthy platform.
You can check review sites and people who have left reviews on forums. You need to consider the feedback they give because they have personal experience with the service.
Some PR services are just promising but don’t really provide results. Make sure to ask for monitoring or tracking reports.
Just like when buying anything, you need to check the goal, needs, and budget. Before picking a platform, do you think that it can provide you the features that are important for you to reach your business goal?
Go back to your goal. Do you want to boost sales, increase traffic to the site, or establish you as an expert? Which platform can best help you?
Does the plan suit your needs? How about the pricing? Is it cost-effective or pricey? Keep in mind that you need to choose the one that can give you a good ROI.
It’s important that you look at how they talk or assist you during the process. Can you reach out to their staff when you have questions? Do they answer promptly or it takes hours or even days before they respond?
Again, read reviews about their customer service. Newswire is one paid distribution platform that is known in this area. Based on several review sites, it excels in providing high-quality service to its clients.
It offers assistance from the beginning of the distribution to the end. They assist its clients in each step of the process, especially when they are just new in distributing a release.
It’s also important that you can contact them after the service. Can you talk to the staff right after the PR submission to know the outcome?
What do you expect when you use a service? Do they provide added service like editing or writing service?
You need to choose a platform that provides such service without the need to pay an additional fee. How about the speed of the site?
Do you find it easy and fast to submit your release? Can they meet these expectations?
If you want to be successful in your campaign, you can use both the methods to maximize the benefits. Pitch directly to journalists and use a press release distribution provider.
If you do both, you can amplify your story further. It is faster and easier for your business to grow.