1. DEBATE WHETHER YOU NEED ONE – Deciding to send a press release shouldn’t be a light decision. The value of approaching media one-on-one can never be equated with mass mailing a press release. Question the story, its audience, the response you wish to achieve and then decide on a medium. Please DO NOT react with a written document on command by the client and bosses. They appointed you for skills superseding the action of hitting the SEND button.
  2. IF THE PR IS NECESSARY, HOW DO YOU DRAFT IT – We are living in the fastest time we will experience today. With tech and social channels moving at super speeds, it’s important to send information in an effective manner.
    1. Get the facts right and as the first few points in the release
    2. The Headline and First paragraph are your sellers. If journalists keep receiving “Press Release – XYZ client”, they won’t have the time to filter releases by their beats or interest.
    3. Do not write a 10 pager. The best release fits on ONE PAGE. If you are writing to the media for the first time, feel free to include the boiler plate of the client, but do not exceed the TWO page limit. As a test, once you finish the release, step away from it for an hour. Come back, and read it, or better yet, ask a colleague to read it. Ask them where they lost interest. You’ll know how much you need to trim.
    4. Check URL’s, Links, Monetary Figures, Dates, Spokesperson Names, and Brand Name. All these things deserve a third or fourth round of proof reading.
  3. DIGITIZE AND OPTIMIZE – Take advantage of the key words outlined for SEO. In fact, lead the discussion on what words should be part of SEO. Integration doesn’t just take place on execution, it takes place in laying the foundation too. Optimizing and identifying key messages, words and terminologies works towards building Organic SEO and a more Google friendly release.
  4. PERSONALIZE – Most of the industry follows the norm of either mass mailing the release to a huge database (blindly), or sending it to journalists without an introduction, reason, and a potential pitch to their publication. This needs to stop. When sending out releases which have the potential to turn into worthy features, Q&A’s and industry pieces, always hold back on the mass emailing.
    1. Study the stories the journalist you are targeting has written.
    2. Understand how they would present it to their TG
    3. When writing the note to them, impress that you have read their stories and understand this may definitely be of interest to them. Do not chase a date.
    4. Present the pitch note in bullet points citing Key Facts. No lengthy emails. You have 1 – 3 minutes to make an impression and catch their attention. Use it well.
    5. Attach any relevant documents, apart from the Press Release, to provide more information.
    6. If you are promising an EXCLUSIVE, send it to ONE journalist and wait at least 48 hours before you move to another journalist.
  5. TIMELY RESPONSES – When a journalist responds to your email, respond as soon as you can. Even if you don’t have the information, or cannot divulge it, you must respond. Do not give the journalist the silent treatment and then expect them to proceed with the story when you emerge. Such treatment affects your credibility and the hope of establishing long term ties with journalists.