How to sell your press release to journalists and editors in 7 seconds

Jennifer Kok - 31 Aug 2023
Here are some useful tips from editors across various regions and newsrooms to increase your chances of getting published.
One key question I am often asked by clients is, “Do editors and journalists really have time to read all the press releases they receive every day?”

I can tell you the answer is yes. However, they only spend an average of seven seconds scanning a press release before deciding whether to use your story.

As you only have about seven seconds to pitch to time-starved editors and journalists your press release, here are some useful tips provided by the editors that we have collated from across different geographic regions and newsrooms on how to increase the chance of getting your story published.

Write a killer headline
A compelling headline is crucial to capture the attention of editors and journalists. It should incorporate the names of relevant companies or organisations and clearly convey the main subject of the press release. A well-crafted headline should clearly explain what the release is about and entice editors to read further.

Include key pitch notes
Following the headline, it is important to provide key pitch notes that succinctly summarise the main points of the press release. These notes serve as a brief overview, highlighting the essential information that editors and journalists need to know at a glance. By including these pitch notes, you make it easier for them to quickly understand the core message of your story.

Keep your press release short, relevant, precise and concise
Editors and journalists are time-starved, so it is essential to keep your press release concise and to the point. Focus on the most relevant and important details, avoiding unnecessary fluff. Provide enough information to convey the story effectively but do so in a clear and concise manner. A well-structured and succinct press release increases the likelihood of it being read and considered for publication.

Avoid adjectives and keep your release factual
You don’t want to discourage an editor with a press release that sounds like an advertorial. Using adjective phrases like “we are a leading company” or “our products are better than our competitors.” News is meant to be objective, so it’s best to stick to the facts about your company or product. Remember, newsrooms have limited manpower and every claim made must be verified before publishing. 

Think of the reader, not your boss’s interest
When crafting your press release, it is important to think from the perspective of the media. Consider what would be interesting, relevant, and valuable to their audience. Tailor your release to align with their interests, focusing on the aspects that would make it newsworthy and compelling. By approaching your press release from the media’s standpoint, you increase the chances of it being seen as valuable content worth publishing.

All the editors we spoke to agree that if a release possesses the qualities we’ve mentioned here, you can improve the effectiveness of your press release and increase the likelihood of getting your story published by editors and journalists.

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