What does a journalist or editor look for in a press release?

What does a journalist or editor look for in a press release?

By Catherine Bontoft
Senior PR Executive

There is so much to organise when you’re running a successful business. So much hard work goes into putting together a fantastic product or service that sometimes businesses forget a crucial element – they don’t effectively showcase what they are doing to their target market.

One of the best ways of showcasing yourself is by obtaining press coverage – but how do you go about this?

During my time as an editor of a business magazine and an assistant news editor on a daily newspaper, I was thrilled when exciting stories from businesses popped up in my inbox… but sadly many other emails from businesses seeking publicity went straight into deleted items. So, what was it that made the difference?

Keep it contemporary
Unsurprisingly, journalists want their product – their news items – to be as newsy as possible. They want to run stories that are contemporary. They aren’t interested in running stories about things that happened a long time ago or publishing general information about your business.

What’s your hook?
Every submission should have a hook – if you can get producers and editors interested they will be more inclined to think their audience will be interested too and see the value to them in running your piece.

So, what sorts of things might attract the attention of a journalist? Well, to start with how about considering:

  • Have you launched a new service or product?
  • Are you working on a new project?
  • Have you had a rebrand or relaunched your website?
  • Are you in the running for an award?
  • Are you marking a milestone anniversary?
  • Has your business grown?
  • Has your business relocated or opened additional premises?
  • Are you expanding your premises? Is there an update on an ongoing development?
  • Have you made any new appointments?
  • Have you taken on any unusual work?
  • Have you started working with any exciting names or brands?

This, far from exhaustive, list gives you a few ideas of the sorts of topics that could stop your press release ending up in the deleted items folder.

Is it relevant?
Another thing to consider is your relevance to the media outlet’s target audience. If, for example, you send a press release to a regional news outlet in the North East and you and your organisation have no links to the area you are not going to get a phone call back. If you have relevant connections make them clear!

Keep it concise
Remember, just like you, journalists are busy people too! Keep your communications concise and make it easy for them. If you don’t have professional journalism skills yourself then send over a short email outlining the main (ie exciting and relevant) points about your story. Don’t use jargon!

Ask the experts
If you can enlist a PR firm to produce a professional press release that’s even better! A professionally written press release combined with an attached, high quality, professional photo can be a godsend to journalists under pressure to deliver more stories – often these days with fewer resources at their disposal. Plus, PR experts can ensure your story goes to the best regional, national and trade media contacts and general ‘contact us’ email addresses.

Can we help?
At Ballyhoo PR, our PR services include acting as your virtual PR department, writing press releases, arranging photo calls, pulling together award entries and so much more!

If you’ve already submitted a press release and have had little to no success, check out our blog on Why Isn’t Your Press Release Getting Picked Up By The Press?

To find out how we can help you, call us today on 01536 682800 or email info@ballyhoo-pr.co.uk.

 

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