4 Steps to Capturing Media Attention by Writing an Effective Press Release

Sending out a press release is easier done today than ever before. Automated press release platforms streamline the entire process, leveraging artificial intelligence to fine-tune releases and automation tools to direct them to relevant targets. When it comes to getting out a release, today’s publicists seem to have everything they need to achieve maximum efficiency.

However, just because a process is efficient doesn’t necessarily mean it is effective. As the myriad challenges involved with getting out press releases have declined, the volume of press releases peppering news outlets has only risen. Statistics show that some journalists receive over a dozen different press releases each day, meaning their chances of finding yours in the ever-expanding flow is the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack.

But what if you were able to keep the needle out of the haystack, engineering your press release process in a way that would capture media attention? It would be the best of both worlds: an efficient process that also gets the job done. 

It’s possible to achieve this by following the following four steps.

1. Start by building media relationships

The first step to maximizing the effectiveness of your press releases begins long before you have news to announce and involves taking the time to build relationships with the journalists who cover the news that is relevant to you. This step is an essential part of differentiating yourself — and your press releases — from the general deliveries that will come through journalists’ inboxes.

Without this step, your press release process is essentially no more effective than cold calling. When you have already established a relationship with the journalist, your press releases come from a known commodity, increasing their overall value to the journalist as well as the likelihood they will capture significant attention in the media.

Engaging with the articles a journalist publishes is a great way to nurture a relationship with them. Follow them on Instagram, X, and LinkedIn, comment on the content they post and share, and make sure they know you appreciate their work in keeping people informed about important news.

Once you have a dialogue going, you can offer to provide information via a press release that supports the journalist’s work. If they accept, then you can rest assured that your press release is bound to receive some attention.

2. Craft compelling stories

Press releases are typically thought of as a tool for announcing something newsworthy. But with the flood of press releases flowing into news outlets today, simply being newsworthy is no longer good enough.

To capture media attention, you will need to craft concise and compelling press releases. The first step in making something compelling is making it interesting. If you are a publicist working for a client, the news you promote will be interesting to the client, but your job is to find a way to make it interesting to others.

The second step in making something compelling is making it irresistible. In other words, it must be presented as a story that is too important to be passed up.

One way to make news compelling is to think about the problem (or problems) it solves and the people it serves. For example, one client we recently worked with provides an innovative, fully virtual platform for retirement planning, and while that may be interesting, it’s not exactly compelling news on its own.

We made the client’s story compelling by positioning their platform as the solution for millions of Americans who are behind on their retirement planning and anxious about how they will live when they hit retirement age. By presenting recent stats to support the argument, we make our case that this is timely news that can help people by revealing a more convenient and cost-effective approach to effective retirement planning.

3. Deliver targeted releases

Targeted releases are designed to connect with a particular audience and present content they will find valuable. It’s not a scattergun approach, in which you send out bulk press releases containing general information with the hopes that a few will stick.

Reporters look forward to receiving targeted press releases because they make their job easier by providing something relevant and easy to use. They make it clear why the news is important to the reporter’s readers and provide the details needed to streamline the writing process.

Taking the time to deliver targeted releases also strengthens your relationship with reporters. If they see you consistently delivering releases that are not a waste of their time, they will be all the quicker to pay attention to your messages in the future.

4. Look beyond traditional media outlets

In today’s media landscape press outlets aren’t the only way to get a message out. Social media influencers, for instance, provide the potential to connect with a huge audience. 

Instagram alone has over 2 billion active monthly users. If you are not building relationships with influencers and providing them with targeted press releases when appropriate, you are missing prime opportunities for capturing media attention.

Leveraging the power of press releases continues to be an essential part of a solid public relations strategy, but today’s media landscape requires that they be used in new ways. Releases that provide relevant and valuable information to familiar media contacts will continue to open doors to impactful media coverage.

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