Editors are the gatekeepers to the mass media audience. If your goal is to write an impressive press release that turns into a huge story, editors are your audience. How do you convert an editor from skeptical rejector to enthusiastic publisher of your content? Here are some tips.
Skip The Promotional Stuff
Even though infotainment is popular, it’s quite uncommon to see promotional news in major publications and news outlets. From the editor’s perspective, that’s what purchasing ads is for. If they publish your promotional stuff, not only does it dilute their news orientation but it also can peeve off other advertisers. And just because you pay for ads in their outlet doesn’t mean you get special news benefits!
Worse, if you get a reputation in the industry as a company that only submits promotional press releases you could get blacklisted. Recall the story of the boy why cried wolf. If you keep shouting you have news but the editors don’t see any, you’ll get ignored when you have genuine news.
Making Publicity Newsworthy
Outright promotional press releases will get tossed, but it is possible to get publicity if you can link your company to something newsworthy. Here are some suggestions:
- Company announcements about events
- Participation in charity and community activities
- Human-interest stories
- Local views on national topics
- Promotions of senior management
- New products, especially if there’s a new technology you can show off that’s newsworthy
Remember, the goal is not to sell. It is to inform the public. Emphasize that and publicity will follow.
Give Them Space
Have you ever received a request for a piece of content that could have been done well a week ago, but you didn’t know about it until the day before it was due? It sucks! Even if you manage to get it out, it’s not going to be as good as it could have been.
Newswriters are in the same boat. While they’ll have staff set aside to cover breaking news, it’s quite unlikely your press release is going to have the same priority. If you write a release about something that’s happening the next day, or worse the day of, they’re not going to have enough time to gather information and write your piece. And since dozens of press releases hit newsrooms every day, your time-sensitive job will get pitched.
Give editors 3-5 business days’ notice for a time-sensitive event. This will give them time without being so far in advance that other news will crowd it out. It will also give you time to build a specialized press kit. You can put a notice on the press release to not release the information until a certain date so you don’t have to worry about leaks.
Contact Editors Correctly
Like any gatekeeper, editors are extremely busy creatures. Don’t waste their time. Keep your press releases brief and to-the-point so they can make a decision quickly about your story. Don’t call them up asking if they’ll place your story. If they do call you up for information and you have to call them back, ask them if they are on a deadline before you launch into the conversation. Finally, if you want to thank them for running your press release, send them an email or call them early in the morning when things are light.
If you get a good reputation for writing newsworthy material for an editor, like you’re their own CONCURED, your chances of getting more stories out there will rise. And who doesn’t like a little positive exposure? For more information on how to write effective press releases for publicity, check out our latest eBook on the subject here.
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