Make your release relevant to the reader
Editors don’t care that “Amalgamated Technologies Has Released the New XYZ-2000 Coated Cable Bushing,” writes Stinson Liles, principal and co-founder at Red Deluxe.
“They are much more likely to be interested in ‘Phone Companies Use New Coated Cable Bushing for Difficult Underground Connections.’ … A product release must — very early on — sell the editor on the products’ usefulness and applicability to … readers.”
After all, journalists are evaluated based on how well they engage their readers, according to a Business Wire Media Survey of 300 North American reporters, editors and bloggers.
So stories focused on reader needs are key to journalists’ success.
Most releases aren’t relevant to the reader.
Sadly, most releases don’t focus on usefulness to readers:
- Two-thirds of trade magazine editors surveyed said that fewer than half of the releases they receive are relevant to their publication, according to a survey conducted by Thomas Rankin Associates.
- 65% to 75% of city editors surveyed believed press releases promote “products, services and other activities that don’t legitimately deserve promotion,” write Dennis L. Wilcox and Lawrence W. Nolte in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.
- No wonder some studies estimate that 55% to 97% of all news releases sent to media outlets are never used, Wilcox and Nolte report.
Bottom line: Journalists’ biggest pet peeves are releases that don’t pertain to their beats or aren’t relevant to the audiences they serve, according to Greentarget.
Help reporters reach their readers.
So how can PR pros create pitches and releases that fall into the 3% to 45% of those that actually get used? By thinking like the reporter’s reader to develop story angles that are relevant.
Maybe you’ll go one step further and offer news you can use to live your life better. Surveys, tipsheets, case studies and other “thought leadership” stories are the most valuable to journalists, according to Greentarget.
Just listen to what journalists say:
- “Present the key element that explains how your story can benefit Forbes readers,” counsels Bruce Upbin, senior editor at Forbes.
- “There’s nothing wrong with a story about a new product,” says Stephany Romanow-Garcia, senior process editor at Hydrocarbon Processing. “But readers want to know, ‘How am I going to use it?’ I’m not interested in ‘new and improved.’”
- “What I really like about a [press release],” says one trade journal editor quoted in Public Relations Tactics, “is when it scratches my reader’s itch and not your client’s itch.”
Go ahead: Scratch that itch. Help reporters reach their readers.