Writing a great press release about your story is only half the battle. Getting it published is just as difficult, if not more so. Knowing how to pitch journalists (which means sending them an email about your press release) correctly is crucial to getting your news spread by the media.
Table of contents
- Double-check if your press release is written correctly
- Structure – check if you have the following:
- Make sure your topic is newsworthy
- Grammatical errors and typos
- Who do I send my press release to?
- When should I send my press release?
- When is the best time and day to send my press release?
- Press release email format
- Three methods of writing a press release email to journalists
- Avoid adding attachments to your press release email
- How to send a press release via email example
- Press release follow-up
Double-check if your press release is written correctly
It’s no use trying to find the best way to email journalists if there’s something fundamentally wrong with your press release.
Structure – check if you have the following:
Make sure your press release follows the proper press release structure:
- Headline – a taster of what you can expect.
- Lead – a brief overview of the story, including answers to the questions: Who? What? When? Why? With what effect?
- Body – an explanation of the information provided earlier in the lead, starting from the most newsworthy info to other less important, background info.
- Dateline – to confirm that you’re providing the most up-to-date information.
- Company info – a short paragraph about your company to help journalists understand the nature of the business and make writing about it easier.
- Media contact information – author or company’s/agency’s contact information.
Make sure your topic is newsworthy
This is something that’s forgotten about, especially if you’re new to writing press releases. If you want to ask a journalist to write about you, it’s worth asking yourself these two questions:
- Is my news actually newsworthy?
- Is my news presented in an exciting way that people will get people interested?
If it’s not, it might be worth waiting until you have something that actually is newsworthy, or you could make a bad first impression with the media contacts you send your press release to.
Grammatical errors and typos
Even if your press release contains everything it should, a typo—or even worse—a major grammatical mistake, can seriously damage the trustworthiness of you and your news.
Who do I send my press release to?
Theoretically, this is obvious, but in practice, you get the impression that some PR companies send notes randomly without any plan or consideration.
Only industry-related information should be sent to editorial offices covering particular industry-related topics, while the ones related to a city or region should be sent to local editorial offices.
In the media, individual journalists have their own specializations and therefore instead of sending your press release to the general email address of a news outlet, it is best to address it to the person most interested in whatever subject you’re writing about.
What if your list of relevant media contacts that that could be actually interested in your story is lacking—or even worse—empty?
Prowly’s media database lets you find relevant media contacts, from a database counting over 1 million journalists & media influencers. It has free search access for 7 days, so you can try it yourself and see if it’s worth paying for.
When should I submit my press release?
If you’re writing a press release about an event or a product launch, remember to submit your press release to the media early enough so you have time to get coverage before your event or product launch. Keep things in mind such as when your ticket sales end and time your release accordingly.
It’s also important when journalists receive your press release email. Recently we analyzed over 55470 press releases sent in 2018 and 2019 with Prowly and checked when respondents opened them.
The best day to send a press release
You’re probably thinking Monday when everyone is feeling crisp and relaxed after the weekend.
The best day to send a press release is on Thursday when the average open rate jumps to over 26%! The worst days are Wednesdays and Fridays when even 85% of your emails get lost in the journos’ inboxes.
Which hours are best for sending a press release?
The best time to send a press release is between 10 am and 2 pm—this is when editors open about one-third of all the emails they’ve received.
Early mornings are less effective: open rates drop to 20.5% between 6 and 10 am. If you do decide on the early morning, however, we recommend waiting at least until around 8 am or 9 am.
Press release email format
There are various approaches to constructing a pr pitch. Since I started my PR career, I’ve seen dozens of different email types: from overflowing with text to nearly empty, with just an email footer and a press release attached. No matter which format you decide on, a pr pitch email should always provide just enough information to engage the recipient.
Three methods of writing a press release email to journalists
Here are three easy ways of writing pr pitches that you should try out if your click rate is too low and you’re aiming for more media presence.
The short & concise method
Probably the easiest one, but often the most time-consuming—to make your email look authentic, it should never be based on the copied & pasted parts of your press release.
You should write your email from scratch, include all the key information (Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?) and throw in 1-2 quotes used in the press release (if possible).
Such an email is basically a condensed press release, allowing editors to start working on the piece of news right after reading the email body.
The bullet method
Some time ago, we’ve asked our fellow editors about their favorite formats of email pitches they get from PR people. One of the PR Week (UK edition) editors said that what works best for him is a short message with three-four bullet points presenting the key details about the news.
Reason? Such amount of space is enough for him to decide whether he wants to run the story or not; if you’re unable to engage a journalist using such a short form, chances are they won’t be interested in reading the entire press release.
I admit that if I had a choice, I’d love to receive all my emails written in a similar manner. It may not be easy and quick, but it’s sometimes worth to try and write down even your biggest announcement in the form of a three-bullet list.
The all-in-one method
It’s good to try this method, especially if your recent click rate is rather disappointing and you want to make sure your media contacts have read the whole news.
The main part of the email body should include one or two paragraphs containing the so-called “meat”—the essence; the key details and info that should win the journalists’ attention. Next, after your standard email ending (“Regards, John Smith”), paste your press release text into a clearly separated section.
This way, most editors who open your email will also see the full story (useful when you can’t measure how many people opened the attached/linked material).
Avoid adding attachments to your press release email
Journalists get a ton of press releases every day. Their poor inboxes are usually running out of space, so it’s a good idea to ditch the attachments.
If you’re using a PR outreach tool like Prowly, the process is a lot easier. All you have to do is throw in a link to your press release that’s located in your company newsroom, which a place where you keep all your news and press releases.
Upon following the URL, the journalist will find your press release along with any photos, videos, social media conversations, and other rich media that you added. Check it out in the example below.
How to send a press release by email – media pitch example
Here’s an example of a press release email sent to journalists from Prowly, spreading the news about an internal promotion of our CMO. If you look carefully, you’ll notice it’s written using the bullet method listed above.
By attaching your press release via an external link, your email stays lightweight, and your message short and to-the-point.
Press release follow-up
One of the less pleasant parts of pitching to journalists is the dreaded follow up. A few days have passed and the journalist’s response is nowhere to be found.
You can almost hear the crickets chirping.
Did they read my press release? Did they open my email? Did they even get my email?
While it’s possible that the journalist has simply no intention of covering your story, it’s important to remember that journalists are, simply put, busy.
A safe way to follow-up is to wait a few days and send them another email asking if they received your story.
Follow-up by knowing if they’ve read your email
You’ll be able to view individual email statistics for each journalist you send your press release to, including open rates (who opened your email), click rates (who viewed your press release), and bounce rates (indicating there was a problem with their inbox).
This makes the follow-up process a lot easier because you’ll know how to approach the journalist if you know if they’ve even opened your email.
Conclusion – how to submit a press release email to journalists
If you’ve made it all the way here, congratulations! By now, you should know the basics of submitting a press release. To sum up, follow these 5 steps:
- Make sure your press release is newsworthy and error-free
- Figure out which journalists will be interested in your story and find their contact details
- Choose the best time to send your press release
- Write your press release email (pr pitch) – make it attention-grabbing, short & simple (and without attachments)
- Follow-up if needed
- ^ Double-check if your press release is written correctly (prowly.com)
- ^ Structure – check if you have the following: (prowly.com)
- ^ Make sure your topic is newsworthy (prowly.com)
- ^ Grammatical errors and typos (prowly.com)
- ^ Who do I send my press release to? (prowly.com)
- ^ When should I send my press release? (prowly.com)
- ^ When is the best time and day to send my press release? (prowly.com)
- ^ The best day to send a press release (prowly.com)
- ^ Which hours are best for sending a press release? (prowly.com)
- ^ Press release email format (prowly.com)
- ^ Three methods of writing a press release email to journalists (prowly.com)
- ^ The short & concise method (prowly.com)
- ^ The bullet method (prowly.com)
- ^ The all-in-one method (prowly.com)
- ^ Avoid adding attachments to your press release email (prowly.com)
- ^ How to send a press release via email example (prowly.com)
- ^ Press release follow-up (prowly.com)
- ^ Follow-up by knowing if they’ve read your email (prowly.com)
- ^ Conclusion (prowly.com)
- ^ support your story with rich media (prowly.com)
- ^ press release distribution service (prowly.com)
- ^ Grammarly, (grammarly.com)
- ^ media contact list (prowly.com)
- ^ find relevant media contacts (prowly.com)
- ^ It’s also important when journalists receive your press release email (prowly.com)
- ^ PR outreach (prowly.com)
- ^ Prowly (prowly.com)
- ^ company newsroom (prowly.com)
- ^ Prowly (prowly.com)
- ^ PR outreach tool (prowly.com)
- ^ managing your media contact (prowly.com)
- ^ find their contact details (prowly.com)
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