Five Tips for More ‘Targeted’ Press Releases

We’ve noticed on our Twitter feed that a PRNewser story posted last year has had a resurgence of popularity: “Survey: 75 Percent of Journalists Find ‘Targeted’ Press Releases Useful.”

With that in mind, we thought it was time for a follow-up that takes a closer look at how to make your press releases more “targeted” and “high quality.” For many, this will be a refresher course, but it’s good to be reminded. After the jump, five tips for making your release a must-read to the writers you’re pitching.

-What’s the news? Part of crafting a quality press release is having a clear sense of what exactly the big news is. Your press release should focus on the most newsworthy element of your announcement with supporting details (including multimedia links) that clearly lay out why this news is significant. If you have a good story with good visuals, a press release can be quick, succinct, and to the point; all things that make everyone’s job easier. Journalism 101: Don’t bury the lede.

And, keep in mind, audiences are now able to search and find your press releases online. So making them consumer-ready — clear, interesting, and shareable — is also important.

-Update your media list. If you’re a subscriber to our Revolving Door newsletter (and you should be) you know that staff changes in the media are happening at a rapid clip. Before you send out your release, take another look at the list to be sure the reporters you’re targeting still cover the beats that are relevant to your story.

-Proof, edit, and proof some more. Many press releases go out with poor grammar and unclear sentences that make it difficult to decipher what the heck you’re talking about. PR Daily, which has frequent grammar stories, and the AP Stylebook are just two of the sites out there that can help you clean up your writing. Reporters don’t have time to crack a code to understand what you’re saying.

-Understand that the news you’re announcing isn’t for everyone. If you follow tip number one, it should be clear who would be most keen on the news you’re announcing. While it would be nice for tons of reporters and bloggers to report on your client’s news, there may only be a small number of reporters who will actually do so. Sending your release to a select list of reporters is a more efficient use of your time and if you manage your clients expectations, they won’t expect The New York Times when that clearly won’t happen.

-Show your clients the way. Part of the reason publicists have a reputation for pitching crap stories is because clients tell them to pitch crap stories. PR pros like to call themselves “advisers,” so advise your clients that their time and money are better spent working on promotions that will yield good results rather than sending out press releases that will get ignored.