Monday, August 5, 2013

Drafting the most ideal press release & e-mail pitch

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This summer at my internship, I have been assigned to draft my fair share of press releases and e-mail pitches. The first time my supervisor told me to write one, I was completely terrified. However, she took the time to explain to me exactly what she was looking for and what outlets they would be sent to. Although my initial draft received its fair share of criticism, I am pleased to say that the pitches were sent out and we were both extremely confident in them.

Interning at a PR agency this summer has lead me to understand the importance of both press releases and e-mail pitches.  I will undoubtedly be drafting many of them in the future and need to be on the look out for the best advice on how to execute them. 

This past weekend, I found an article on PR News Online specifically giving ways to draft pitches without annoying or turning off reporters. Here are a few ideas from the article, as well as a few that my supervisors have shared with me this summer:

  • Do not include business cliches or overused phrases. Reporters can literally see right through this type of language and it appears that you do not value their time because of the fluffiness, rather than substance, present in the pitch.
  • Catch their attention right away. With outlets like Twitter and Facebook, reporters' attention spans are shorter than ever. You should send them something both newsworthy and interesting so that they want to read it.
  • Use visuals. This goes along with the previous tip. Instead of explaining a backpack in a long paragraph, why not send a detailed picture of the backpack instead? Visuals are both descriptive and captivating, encouraging your reporters to actually pay attention to the content. 
  • Write an intelligent phrase in the subject line that shows not only what your e-mail is about, but also how it will be of use to the reporters' readers. It is not enough to simply explain something, you need to indicate what others will get out of it.
  • Keep it short and to the point. This goes without saying. However, sometimes PR pros get so caught up in how awesome their clients are that they forget that reporters receive hundreds of e-mail every day.
To read the full PR News Online article, click here.

Wishing everyone the best of luck as their internships wind down. Remember, there is still enough time to utilize this advice and write the best press release/e-mail pitch of the summer!

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