Sponsored Content | Brand Spotlight Partner What's This?
15 Proven Strategies for Securing Maximum Media Coverage for Your Press Releases
In the quest for media attention, we've gathered insights from seasoned public relations leaders and marketing specialists on crafting press releases that stand out. From building relationships with journalists to aligning your press release with trending conversations, discover the 15 strategies that not only secure significant media coverage but also serve as blueprints for success.
Build Relationships with Journalists
Drafting a compelling press release is very important, but equally important is building strong relationships with journalists. We must make our pitches personalized, and reading journalists' stories before pitching to them is crucial so as not to offend them and to share the right pitch. For instance, if we reach out to a journalist who has covered similar topics in the past, providing them with a tailored press release will help ensure a positive result of our story being featured and establish a good relationship with the media.
Utilize Direct Media Connections
One thing that's helped me secure coverage for my press releases is understanding that a press release is like the well-known idiom—'If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?' Sending a release is just the first step. From there, I use the content of the release to make direct connections with media, tailoring each point of outreach specifically to that journalist. For example, I sent a recent release to local tech media in my area, who immediately published an article about a product launch. From there, I was able to use the release and that specific article to reach the next tier of tech media, building on the credibility at each step. It's hard work and takes time, but it's the tactic that yields the most results for me.
Sarah Gilbert, Public Relations Manager
Leverage Timing and Relevance
Timing and relevance are everything! If you can send an editor a well-timed pitch, giving them an expert to explain a current event or an op-ed pitch that will get their audience clicking and sharing, you significantly increase your chances of securing media coverage because you're giving them exactly what they need at the right moment.
For example, a few years ago, former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern released the world's first Well-being Budget alongside her country's monetary budget. I knew journalists would be looking for content around the topic, so I reached out to leadership expert Tamsin Simounds, and we crafted a timely op-ed that not only explained the concept behind the Well-being Budget but also provided practical tips to help audiences create their own. The headline was: 'Be More Jacinda: Why We All Need a Well-being Budget.' It went viral on LinkedIn, was syndicated by multiple media outlets, and if you searched 'Jacinda Ardern' in Google News, Tamsin's article was featured for days. It drove speaking inquiries and other opportunities.
To achieve outcomes like this, you have to constantly look for ways to make your client's expertise relevant. I take a current event or a zeitgeist topic and ask myself, 'What's next in the public conversation about this topic? What are we missing?' 'What would their audience gobble up on this topic?' It almost always helps me generate timely ideas.
Stay Top-of-Mind with Journalists
Staying top-of-mind with journalists pays off! As a media coach and journalist of 15 years, I tell my clients that the best way to land a media feature as an entrepreneur is to stay in touch with journalists covering stories related to your industry and niche.
Look for stories at your favorite (or dream) media outlets. Check out the byline (or who it was written by) and connect with the journalist on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Introduce yourself in a direct message, explain what you do, and offer to be a featured expert in any articles that they have coming up specific to your niche.
And don't forget to follow up. It's crucial to follow up without being a nuisance. A gentle reminder of your presence can increase your chances of getting featured as an expert in an article.
Send Follow-Up Reminders
My advice to anyone looking to really get the most out of their press releases is to not be afraid of sending a follow-up just to make sure the journalist has seen your data. It's no secret that journalists receive hundreds of emails per day, and it's often not the case that your press release has been forgotten about... You sometimes just need to send that reminder across to 'bump' the email up in their inbox.
Create Compelling News Angles
A key strategy for securing maximum media coverage is the creation of a compelling news angle. It's not enough to simply announce your news; you need to frame it in a way that captures the interest of journalists and their audience.
For instance, instead of merely announcing a product launch, you could highlight how your product solves a pressing problem, ties into a current trend, or impacts a specific industry. This approach was used by Apple when they launched the iPhone. Instead of just announcing a new phone, they framed it as a revolutionary device that combined three products—a mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device.
Moreover, a solid media list is a vital resource. By targeting journalists who cover your industry and tailoring your pitch to their interests, you increase your chances of coverage.
Finally, follow-up is crucial. Journalists receive countless press releases daily, so a well-timed follow-up email or call can make your release stand out.
Remember, the goal is to make the journalist's job easier by providing them with a newsworthy story that's relevant to their audience. If they need to hunt for information, your release is guaranteed to wind up in the trash.
Maintain Media Relationships
Working for a small community college in a rural desert community, I may have a different approach from my urban colleagues, though I think much of how I operate can be applied universally. We have limited media outlets in our area to get the word out about our college, so it's vital that our press releases result in coverage.
The one strategy that I think supports all others in this effort is to develop a relationship with your media contacts and to maintain that relationship on an ongoing basis. When they know the person sending the press release, and they know your passion for your work and your appreciation for their support, it's much more likely that your releases will result in stories.
I try to build those relationships by not only sending out a press release with a note thanking my contacts for their support of our community's college but also by personally inviting them to any events included in the release. When they do attend, I make sure to acknowledge their presence and thank them for attending. When coverage runs, I thank them for their work in ensuring our community knows about what our college provides for our local people—our neighbors, our customers, our audience—and I share their stories on social media. I try to make obtaining media coverage for our college into a win-win situation for not only the college but for our media partners as well.
Address the '5W' in First Paragraph
Consistently addressing the '5W'—Who, What, Where, When, Why—in the first paragraph of a press release has been a key strategy for securing maximum media coverage. This approach, coupled with the inverted-pyramid formula where main points come first and details follow, ensures that the release captures attention while answering the journalist's primary questions in one go.
Take, for example, a press release for a client who recently achieved unicorn status. We emphasized the crucial information right at the beginning: the investors, the size of the funding round, the usage of the funds, and, significantly, how this advancement would influence the industry. By focusing on what journalists need to know, rather than just what the company wants to say, we optimize for success and greater media coverage.
Incorporate Relevant Stats and Figures
One strategy we have successfully utilized to maximize press office coverage is incorporating stats and figures from the relevant category. Including insight from the client's industry helps add context and clarity to a press release, ensuring journalists can read into the wider background behind a story, and not just the brand's position on a specific issue, event, or launch.
One example where this has proven successful is for one of our FMCG clients, the eco-friendly cleaning brand Astonish. Incorporating the latest stats and trends from the wider cleaning category, as well as up-to-date insight on consumer purchasing habits, has given press releases greater gravitas and authority, resulting in record numbers of top-tier media coverage.
Include Personable Founder Quotes
Anytime I am writing a press release, either for myself or a client, I almost always include a quote from the founder or a party who's closely involved. This makes the release more personable and gives readers and people of interest a chance to connect with those who may not have a large public image. News organizations and other media outlets can make an entire story off of one quote.
Craft a Compelling Media Kit
A well-designed media kit provides journalists with comprehensive information, visuals, and resources, streamlining their coverage process. For instance, when promoting a product launch, an engaging media kit containing high-quality images, product details, and relevant background information significantly increased our press release's pickup.
Ensure Content Relevancy
When it comes to generating maximum media coverage for press releases, it always boils down to one word: relevancy. As someone who has worked as a trade journalist, a wire services senior editor, and a PR professional (my current role), I have been on all sides of receiving, formatting, and distributing press releases. The more relevant and amenable your content is to your target media outlets—the more relevant the text is, as well as the accessibility and ease of use and integration of photos and videos—the more likely you are to generate earned media placements.
One example that is fresh on my mind is a press release I am currently distributing for my company, Minuteman Press International. One of our franchise locations in Fayetteville, NC, is the print and sign provider for the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. Owner Jared Ostendorf provided a fantastic case study of how he went from season ticket holder to a trusted business partner. Just as important, he provided a fantastic series of photos that really paint the picture of the full scope of work that he's done.
I have been reaching out to several trade publications as well as local business publications. Thanks to the relevancy of the content and the quality of the photos, we have already received a placement complete with photos in the trade magazine Printing Impressions and are working on additional media placements as well.
That's just one example of how relevancy is key to getting the coverage you want for your press releases.
Leverage PR Platforms for Outreach
For us, leveraging platforms like Prowly and MuckRack has been an effective strategy for our team to secure maximum media coverage. These tools furnish us with a comprehensive database of PR professionals and journalists who contribute to major publications across various sectors. If we find a journalist who writes about a topic aligned with our narrative, we reach out to them, careful not to sound overly desperate or too reliant on the coverage. We make it a point to emphasize how our story could potentially enrich their readers' knowledge, thus underscoring the mutual benefit of the arrangement.
For instance, during the launch of our client's groundbreaking AI-powered security product, we used Prowly to identify a cybersecurity reporter at a top-tier tech publication. Our team pitched the story, highlighting how this technology was revolutionizing the industry and why their readers should take notice. The result? A feature article with in-depth coverage that not only garnered significant media attention but also elevated our client's brand awareness in the tech community.
Use a Storytelling Formula
One specific strategy that has consistently helped my press releases secure maximum media coverage is the use of a storytelling formula. I summarize the main points in the first paragraph, focusing on the context or scenario, the problem, and the solution. This approach has proven to be especially effective for product launches and announcements of new businesses.
An essential aspect of this strategy is crafting the headline. It's crucial for me to find the right balance where the headline conveys the key message but doesn't give away the entire story.
Align with Trending Conversations
In my experience as a public relations professional, one key strategy that consistently enhances the impact of press releases is thorough research and strategic alignment with existing discussions. This involves plugging the key topic of the press release into search engines, such as Google, to understand the current landscape and identify trending conversations.
By conducting this research, PR professionals can gain insights into what others are already saying about the topic and understand which content is ranking prominently. This not only helps in staying informed about the latest developments but also allows for the strategic curation of press releases to align with and complement the ongoing discourse.
The integration of thorough research and alignment with existing online conversations ensures the relevance of press releases and increases the likelihood of capturing media attention within the current news landscape.