I just had to giggle when I attended a recent “Meet the Press” meeting in my large metropolitan city. There were lots of “do this, but don’t do thats" floating around the room. If anything came out loud and clear it was that reporters are busy. I know that’s not news to you or me – after all we are busy too – but reporters are living in a warp-speed world. They are living in the Internet world where time goes seven times faster than for those of us on the ground. I guess it’s kind of like dog years.
The primary thing you want to remember as you try to get your firm or company in front of the press or media is to keep the publication’s and the reporter’s needs in mind. In short, make sure your press release is newsworthy. Sure, you think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but will the readers of that publication think so? Your job in your press release is to spell out why people want to know about your story. Don’t worry about telling all about your company and your partners – that will come later. A press release is simply a tool to use to see if the press is interested in picking up the story. Kirk Hallahan’s Publicity Primer offers tips for you to know if your story is newsworthy and other PR savvy items.
Next, you want to avoid all the things that reporters hate. If you ever get the chance to go to a “Meet the Press,” I would highly advise it. From publication to publication, the requirements change, but the pet peeves generally stay the same. If you send a press release, make sure you provide several contact outlets. For example, include two phone numbers and an email. Remember reporters are living in Internet Time Land. If you call, get to the point quickly. They need the punchline first – they’ll ask about you later. Tell them how this story is going to fold out – paint them a picture. In short, help them do their job by thinking like a reporter.
The next best thing to actually meeting with reporters is reading about reporters’ pet peeves. Avoid these pet peeves and you should be a-ok with your press releases!