One question we’re often asked during media relations courses is when to ‘pitch’ to a journalist and when to issue a press release.
Both approaches have their place when trying to promote potential stories in the media, but there are times when a pitch is most appropriate, and others when you should issue a press release.
If you have an idea for a story or feature for a magazine or newspaper (or indeed broadcaster) which you feel would be particularly interesting to their readers, and which you would like to offer to them exclusively, you should send them a pitch.
One example from a recent course was a company which had pioneered an innovative collaborative-working approach with their clients, which was saving their clients millions of pounds. By offering the idea to the most prominent relevant trade magazine as an exclusive feature, the company would be gaining valuable publicity and marking themselves out as leaders in this field.
Or another might be if you are about to embark on a new project, and you feel that a written or video diary tracking the progress might be of interest. On the same course, we had a company which was about to embark on an environmental project in West Africa as part of its CSR, a perfect candidate for a piece following its progress, which would again enhance their reputation.
Or if you have some insight into a particular topic or expertise in a particular field which is topical or which would be useful to others, then again, it’s well worth pitching your own take on it to relevant journalists and papers.
The press release
If you have general news to convey about your organisation – an event you are holding, a new campaign, a new product, an announcement about staffing, annual results, a response to some news in the press – then a press release is the most useful approach.
Be assured if you contact a newsroom with information of this kind, the most likely response will be a request for you to email the details over. And journalists understand the language and format of press releases, so it’s the easiest way to communicate with them.
They don’t want to wade through pages of briefing notes or background information, they want a quick one or two pages which tells them all the key details. And if they need anything else, they will follow up with a call.
Watch out for next week’s blog for some tips on how to pitch.
We run bespoke media relations training courses and provide regular media relations support. If you would like to find out more, contact us on 020 8332 6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org