Reporters like stories that are related to a current event or issue, or those that have emotional appeal. A news release should provide enough information to generate interest but just enough to incite them to want to know more. In doing so, it is only logical that it must provide good contact information if they wish to follow-up. You would be amazed to know how many news releases fail to mention even the simplest of things, like a phone number or a contact name.
More importantly, your news release must be devoid of any obvious fluff or overt advertising. You need to write it to read like a news story because a news reporter will be using it. Look at it from the reporter’s perspective. In other words, write the story for them.
Being the first in some way is an effective tool that can also help spark more interest in your news release. If you can support the fact that your firm is the first to provide a certain product or service, that your product or service is the first in its category, that you’re the first to provide an ordinary product or service in a unique way, or that your event is the first or the largest in its category, you can and should use that information in your news release.
A company claiming to be the best is certainly not a news item. But a company claiming to be the first in some way is. Capitalize on that leadership when approaching the media. Try to sell your story in a different way, possibly with a new angle or twist. Adding your unique experience, even blending your story with a current news item or issue, will up your chances.
For example, someone sends out a news release in which he announces the opening of his new company. Sounds like a trivial story? It’s not if that person suffers from a disability. In other words, bring your unique angle into your news release. Give it a human feel. The key is to capture the reporter’s interest. It must appeal to him or her and not just the marketplace.
Remember that the media get thousands of releases each day. So being unique or having a unique story to tell is what can often captivate attention. For example, if your release is about an event, then how different, unique, or special is your event when compared to any other? Think of it this way: If you were a reporter and had your release in your hands while at the same time there is another interesting story on which you could report, what would cause you to choose your story above the other? The answer is by being different.
Finally, targeting the media is just as important as targeting your market. Special features writers, columnists, radio show hosts, special interest publications, and specific programs are particularly beneficial for two reasons.
First, targeting your release to specific reporters, news anchors, or programs (instead of the newsroom or media entity) increases your chances. While it may require a little investigating, remember that the media are made up of people. They like the personalized approach just as much as your clients do.
Second, targeting your news release is more effective for the purposes of marketing since it will be reported in a medium that caters to your specific target market. Ask: “Where does my niche or target market hang out? What publications do they read? What shows do they watch? What radio programs do they prefer?” Your hit ratio will thus increase proportionately.