I want to talk today, a bit more than usual, about DIY publicity. Contacting the press is tricky. You should follow AP standards but you shouldn’t cookie-cut pitches, advisories, etc. Remember, PR is about relationships- not press releases! This said, I have 3 tips for you when it comes to writing and sending emails to the media.
1. Your focus should be on the subject line. Press members are busy! They are pitched by people they do know and don’t know 100 times a day. Plus, they receive emails from peers, their boss, publicists responding to story requests, friends, family, SPAM… their email boxes are flooded. If the email header reads “press release” or “media advisory”… don’t bother sending it. You need a subject line that will stop traffic.
2. Don’t BS a reporter. They hate hype. They can spot hype a mile away. If you use any type of promotional verbs or nouns, they will not only NOT cover you- many will put you on blast via social media. Reporters like quick facts and credible resources.
3. Attach this. Reporters are not going to open an attachment. Forget it. If they’re interested, they will follow a link. Yes, you need to provide two links in your email. One that goes to the media advisory or press release with more information and one that goes to the online media kit.
Remember, you can mess up on AP style, you can pitch the wrong reporter (who will send it to the right reporter almost always), and you can accidentally toss in a spelling error or two- and still get your story covered. Journalists can forgive bad style if the story is good. But, if you’re not doing the basics right (see above), they will never even open the pitch.
Twyla N. Garrett